Review: The Pyrates Way Magazine

Rating: ★★½☆☆
The Pyrates Way
Premiere Issue

The Pyrates Way – A Magazine FOR Pyrates Created BY Pyrates!

So claims the cover of The Pyrates Way premiere, Autumn 2006 issue. The cover features a pirate wench with a cork in her teeth superimposed over what appears to be Greece (probably somewhere quite different, but it looks like Greece.) The cover text boasts articles on many piratey subjects, from tattoos to Bartholomew Roberts. Overall the cover is a bit congested, but hopefully you’re not buying it for the cover. Let’s talk innards, mates…

I think it best to examine The Pyrates Way from two perspectives – content and presentation. Starting with content, this issue has several feature articles. First is an interview with Brad Howard of the band Pyrates Royale. I’m not very familiar with this particular group, and found the article quite interesting. The interviewer did make some odd comments (suggesting that a band “rehashes” the same material seems a harsh choice of words), and the writing is at times a little raw and awkward, but by and large I found it an interesting and enjoyable read. I can easily say the same of the next two features, Continue reading

Review: Piratica

Rating: ★★★½☆
by Tanith Lee

I liked the swears, in particular. Wonderfully creative, g-rated swears. Swears such as “dastardly custard!” and “by the Sacred Golden Pig of Eira…”

Artemesia is a restless young girl trapped in a boarding school that’s hellbent on making her into a proper young lady. Her life prior to the school is a mystery to all, especially herself, as she’s afflicted with amnesia. But this changes drastically when a whack on the head brings back memories of her late mother, Piratica, and their adventures together on the high seas during Art’s youth. Determined to recapture her former life, Art escapes her boarding school to seek her mother’s old crew and once again pluder the seas of the world. Through luck, determination, and guile, Art seizes her new (old?) life and claims her mother’s identity as Piratica for herself. But while pirating is all she’d remembered, her own past isn’t, so to speak, and Art learns that her memories might not be quite what she, er, remembers. Continue reading

Review: Pirates Magazine

Rating: ★★★★½
Pirates Magazine
Premiere Issue

Note: Near the same time as Pirates Magazine was released, a second pirate magazine also premiered. I initially reviewed both, and more recently have re-reviewed the other magazine, looking at it in the entireity of its first year so as to better represent a new and growing publicaton. I have not done the same for Pirates Magazine, because I feel it unnecessary. Pirates Magazine has remained consistent in its quality, and the following review remains an accurate snapshot of what you can expect from this publication.

After some months of anticipation from the greater pirate community, Pirates Magazine began hitting bookshelves just in time to ride the waves created by the recent Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest movie. Clearly the publisher sought to maximize this fortunate timing, as the cover features none other than Captain Jack himself, smugly basking in the warm yellow glow of Tia Dalma’s hut. It’s a fine cover for catching the attention of new and old pirate fans alike. Continue reading

Review: Age of Pirates Caribbean Tales

Rating: ½☆☆☆☆

I hate to be so blunt, especially with a game that I had hoped to love:

Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales is an uncut diamond buried deep within a bottomless dung heap. It could have been great, it should have been great, but for whatever reason it was sent to market incomplete in most every respect, and is therefore not worth your hard-earned doubloons.

I’m an enormous fan of the original Seadogs. For all it’s quirks and bugs, it was still wonderfully fun, and easily set the standard for 3rd person pirate adventure games. Pirates of the Caribbean (Seadogs 2 before jumping on board with Disney) was also flawed – the last minute Disney changes seemed half-baked and disrupted the original intentions of the developers. But just the same, it was quite the improvement over Seadogs, and with the various mods created by fans it soon evolved into an ever-growing pirate world of near infinite options. Continue reading

Review: Hunting Pirate Heaven

Rating: ★★★★★
Hunting Pirate Heaven: In Search of the Lost Pirate Utopias of the Indian Ocean
by Kevin Rushby

OK, get this. The author is hanging out on the beach one day and talks to a stranger who mentions how pirates once built their own kingdoms in Madagascar. The author then decides to go check it out for himself, but rather than fly or rent a ship he mooches, finesses, and bribes his way one island at a time, meeting the strangest assortment of folks along the way.

This man is my hero. Continue reading

Review: Booty: Girl Pirates on the High Seas

Rating: ★★★½☆
Booty: Girl Pirates on the High Seas
by Sara Lorimer

Girl pirates were a rarity. In the male-dominated world in which pirates resided, coupled with the complications aroused (heh) by women at sea – real and imagined – there just wasn’t much room for femine scallywaggs wishing to engage in a bit of pillaging and Spaniard skewering. But as in any time period, there were a few headstong lassies who found the gumption within themselves to buck the system and take to life of piracy. Anne Bonney and Mary Read are the two most famous, and certainly the only lady pirates the average person might be able to name. Grace O’Mally and Cheng I Sao have found their ways into the hearts and minds of hardcore pirate enthusiasts, but any other female pirates seem to elude all but the most diligent historians. Continue reading

Review: Swashbuckling Faith

Rating: ★★½☆☆
Swashbuckling Faith: Exploring for Treasure with Pirates of the Caribbean
by Tim Wesemann

A book that claims to use lessons hidden within the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl to teach morale truths? How could I not check this out?

In Swashbuckling Faith, author Tim Wesemann endeavors to utilze the plot of one of our favorite pirate movies to demonstrate Christian teachings. And by and large, he does exactly that. Each chapter begins with an account of a movie scene, which is then followed by an applicable lesson. As the title claims, the lessons are largely geared towards faith – pursuit of grace and steering clear of the devil – rather than the more mainstream sort of “be nice to each other” life skills.

Chapters read very much like a preacher’s sermon, although certainly an interesting sermon (far more than many I’ve sat through, I’ll grant.) However, they don’t so much disect Pirates of the Caribbean for their faith conclusions as utilize the scenes as springboards into larger, tangential discussions. Continue reading

Review: Sea Witch

Rating: ★★★★☆
Sea Witch
by Helen Hollick

In regards to her pirate novel Sea Witch, author Helen Hollick has only one noteworthy shortcoming – she seems to think she’s in competition with Pirates of the Caribbean. From occasional dialogue remeniscent of Jack Sparrow (was the word “savvy” uttered by a single pirate before Jack?) right down to the cover quote weighing the sexiness of Hollick’s pirate protaganist Jesamiah Acorne against Johnny Depp’s own swashbuckling personification, it’s clear that Ms. Hollick is quite aware of Pirates of the Caribbean’s popularity, and that she hopes her own works might be comparable.

So let me set her mind at ease – no comparison is needed. Regardless of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise’s past and future successes and shortcomings (I’ve indeed made note of both), Sea Witch is a very worthy undertaking of its own, and needs not take back seat to any flick, no matter how trendy. Continue reading

Review: The Sea Rover’s Practice

Rating: ★★★★★
The Sea Rover’s Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730
by Benerson Little

During my time running, I’ve read many, many pirate books. And in doing so, I’ve developed exactly two heroes. The first was Kevin Rushby for possessing the wherewithal to truly – and I mean truly – explore the waters and cultures between Cape Town and Madagascar. And only now have I found a second author of truly heroic status. Benerson Little has written a book without precedent – a small tome of combat knowledge as it applies to our pirate forebears. Be it ship-to-ship, hand-to-hand, or just plain deceit and cheating, the tactics are all here and explained in glorious detail. So why does this make Little a hero? Because he speaks from experience.

It’s one thing for a historian to write about old naval tactics. It’s quite another when that historian is a former navy SEAL. Continue reading