Pirates! is a classy and welcome addition to Celia Rees's successful oeuvre, that of novels with a historical background, such as the phenomenally bestselling Witch Child and Sorceress. Swashbuckling in the tradition of every pirate tale, from Treasure Island to Pirates of the Caribbean, Pirates! is truly gripping from first page to last and never fails to be totally entertaining throughout.
Nancy Kington and Minerva Sharp are two young women from very different backgrounds who, in time, become united in a common, pirating cause. Nancy, the daughter of a successful Bristol ship owner, had her life all planned out. She lived in comfort and hoped to marry her childhood sweetheart William. But disaster strikes and she is aghast to experience her circumstances turning upside down when her father dies. Soon she finds herself shipped out to land they own in the West Indies to marry for the good of the remaining family.
Minerva is part of the staff at her new plantation home and they immediately become friends--despite the delicate nature of their differing positions as merchant's daughter and slave. But Minerva has complications of her own--particularly from an abusive overseer. Nancy is eventually driven to murder him, and together they become fugitives. Joining a pirate ship comes naturally to both of them and a wild, wild life of seafaring and adventure begins.
With detailed research that leaps from every page, Rees's narrative is atmospheric but never heavy. She moves the story along at a jaunty pace, making it impossible for the reader to get bogged down. Rich and exciting, Pirates! is another triumph and unlikely to be bested by another pirate novel for some years to come. (Recommended for ages 12 and over.) --John McLay