First off: I have to admit, I haven’t yet read anything else by George MacDonald Fraser, so those hoping for me to compare this book with his larger body of work must remain disappointed – sorry!
When I picked this up, I wasn’t aware that this is actually Fraser’s first novel, which remained unpublished during his lifetime. I just knew that I’d heard the author’s name around for quite some time, and that it was a pirate story. (Pirates are always a selling point, with me.)
As one might guess from the title, this is a fictionalized account of the notorious Calico Jack Rackham and Anne Bonney. (it’s quite a different take from the one currently being broadcast in ‘Black Sails’ – but I’d still recommend it to fans.)
My verdict? Well, as a story of pirate adventure, it does the job. It doesn’t transcend the job, however. It’s not a great work of literature, it’s not full of great historical research or insights, and it does feel a little old-fashioned. It also ended a little abruptly, I thought. But if you’re looking for a quick, fun read – with pirates – this may buckle your swash.
I’ve still got to get one of George MacDonald Fraser’s more well-known and acclaimed works onto my reading list.
Many thanks to Mysterious Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are solely my own.