Review: The Pyrates

Rating: ★★★★★
The Pyrates
by George MacDonald Fraser

Now here’s a gem that’s escaped my notice for far too long. First published in 1983, The Pyrates is certainly as fresh and witty today as it was back then. Taking place in a non-specific part of the Golden Age of Piracy, the tale ranges from England to Madagascar to the Caribbean, and features the wildest cast imaginable. The characters are highly (and intentionally) stereotyped, and this is put to great comedic use. The hero, Captain Ben Avery, is brave, dashing, and impeccable in every fashion. The author makes frequent mention of his manicured nails and chisled jawline. Indeed, Avery seems perfect in every fashion, so it should naturally follow that every woman in the book swoons after him, be they admiral’s daughter, pirate queen, Spanish maiden, or missionary nun turned tribal goddess and chocolate addict. Whatever their role in this book, each of these women share one thing in common (aside from their lust for Captain Avery, that is) – each is heart-wrenchingly gorgeous, and each knows how to play that to maximum effect. They pout when they need to pout, scream appropriately when a damsel-in-distress scenario is called for, and slump to the ground to lie in a vulnerable-yet-alluring position when knocked out cold by the bad guys. Continue reading