At the Back Fence Issue #230

July 3, 2006

From the Desk of Laurie Likes Books

For the Love of Pirates!

A couple of weeks ago, the History Channel contacted me about True Pirates of the Caribbean, a two-hour documentary they are airing July 9th. My husband and I watched the screener they sent, and I was spellbound throughout the entire DVD, although when we learned how Black Bart strung male captives up by their genitals, well…somehow that sadistic bit of information conflicted heavily with the romantic view of pirates I’d carried in my mind since watching Swashbuckler and falling in love with pirate movies in the late 1970s as an impressionable teen.

Since I already loved watching old movies, you can imagine my thrill at discovering the pirate movie…along with Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power. It’s summer time, Johnny Depp is set to channel Keith Richards as a pirate for the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, the History Channel’s True Caribbean Pirates is about to air, so let’s celebrate pirates, starting with Swashbuckler!

had a wonderful cast, featuring Robert Shaw, James Earl Jones, Peter Boyle, Geneviève Bujold, and Beau Bridges. Set in 18th century Jamaica, it may have been short on plot, but it was lots of fun, with terrific swordplay. Roberts Shaw is Red Nel Lynch, and he and his bawdy band of thieves come to the aid of Lynch’s first mate, James Earl Jones, and later, the ultra feisty Bujold, whose father and property have been seized by the evil Peter Boyle. There’s an hilarious scene during which Shaw and Jones trade dirty limericks, and the romance, such as it was, went nowhere, but for swagger and lots of lusty buckling of swashes, this one is lots of fun.

piratenatehayesNot only did the NYT’s Vincent Canby hate Swashbuckler, he panned Nate and Hayes as well. Nate and Hayes starred Tommy Lee Jones as Bully Hayes, a “moral” pirate charged with escorting a young reverend in training, along with his fiancé (Michael O’Keefe as Nathaniel Williamson and Jenny Seagrove – was she in anything else? – as Sophie ) to a tropical island to start their lives as missionaries. Not long after arriving on paradise, though, a nasty brigand and his band of unmerry men kills the natives and kidnaps Sophie…and Nate is convinced Hayes was behind it. Eventually the two team up to rescue Sophie (both men have feelings for her). Aside from watching Tommy Lee Jones, seeing Nathaniel transform into Nate was a delight. This may be a paint by numbers pirate movie, but that’s how I like ’em.


Henry Morgan is one of the pirates whose exploits are documented in True Pirates of the Caribbean. He started his career as a privateer, but after England, France, Spain, and Holland signed a treaty to stop the mayhem in Queen Anne’s War in the Caribbean, his actions became illegal. Eventually Charles II knighted him and he was appointed Governor of Jamaica. Unlike another pirate named Henry – Henry Jennings was able to retire from piracy and live his life in relative peace – Morgan’s fortunes took a turn for the worse later in his life.

The Black Swan starred Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara. As you probably realize, a staple of the pirate movie is a romance between a pirate and a spitfire “gentlewoman”…for which O’Hara could give lessons. In all likelihood, she probably did, as many of the pirate movie staples probably grew out of this movie. The set up is this: Captain James Waring is one of Governor Morgan’s “reformed” pirates, charged with bringing order to the Caribbean on behalf of the king. O’Hara is Margaret Denby, daughter of the island’s former governor, who “hates” the swaggering Jamie on sight – he does kidnap her, after all! – until she loves him. Swords, cannons, cutlasses…Darryl Zanuck brings it all to vivid life in Technicolor.

piratecaptainbloodAnd then there is the film adaptation of Rafael Sabatini’s Captain Blood. This is the movie that made a star of Errol Flynn, who portrays Dr. Peter Blood, a British surgeon who is arrested after providing medical aid to English rebels and sent as an indentured servant in Jamaica. He is forced to work for the tyrannical Colonel Bishop and falls in love with Bishop’s daughter, played by Olivia de Havilland. Eventually he escapes and becomes a gentleman pirate, a sort of Robin Hood on the High Seas. The chemistry between de Havilland and Flynn was such that they eventually starred in seven movies together.

piratesdeppSo many of the themes in these earlier movies came together in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The feisty gentlewoman, the good man forced into piracy by means out of his control, a chase across the High Seas, a search for treasure, and an unthinkable love coming true. While the movie itself is tongue in cheek and a whole lot of fun, for the reasons I just mentioned it is a terrific pirate story and utilizes the same themes readers love in a pirate romance.

As you may recall, Will (Orlando Bloom) was once rescued from shipwreck by Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), and both love each other, but each realizes their class differences set them apart. Will is a very moral – and talented – apprentice sword smith and Elizabeth the daughter of the island’s governor. Through no fault of his own, Will ends up on the wrong side of the law, and takes to the sea with the pirate Jack Sparrow to rescue Elizabeth, who has been taken hostage by the evil pirate Barbossa.

While Jack Sparrow may be no “moral pirate,” Will certainly is, and he’s tortured as well, not only because of class differences, but in the big secret revealed about his heritage. There are obvious advantages in turning the pirate into a moral figure fighting against injustice, but the reality was far different. While in fact many pirates were originally privateers in a sort of service to their countries, their looting and pillaging was incredibly violent. It’s also true that pirate ships, except during battle, were far more democratic than merchant and naval ships of the time, but it was nothing but greed that held the pirates together…and they often squandered their booty almost immediately on women, drink, and debauchery. The teetotaling Black Bart Roberts, the most successful pirate of them all, was forced into piracy after the slaving ship on which he worked was attacked by pirates. When the pirate captain was later killed, he was elected captain and began his reign of terror on the high seas, eventually successfully pillaging 400 ships. And yet he was not only a teetotaler, he didn’t allow gambling, and held prayer services on his ship.

pirateprincessThe reality versus the fantasy of pirates is blurred perhaps most of all in The Princess Bride. My daughter insists it’s not really a pirate movie, but Westley does become the Dread Pirate Roberts, and he is such a fabulous swordsman that he bests Inigo Montoya in a duel. Of course, the Dread Pirate Roberts is all reputation and Westley was and is the good guy, but again, the good pirates of film are the good guys in these movies.

And it’s not just in film…it’s the same in romance novels. Whether privateers or pirates, many a favorite romance novel hero is truly a pirate; after all number 33 on our most recent top 100 romances list is Laura London’s The Windflower (for which Deborah Simmons wrote a terrific DIK review many years ago!).

Some of my own favorites include Captain Spencer from Susan Grant’s Once a Pirate, Captain Kerrick from The Tiger’s Bride by Merline Lovelace, and Captain Merceaux from Leslie LaFoy’s It Happened One Night. I also adored Julie Garwood’s brother and sister pirate team in Guardian Angel and The Gift (even if the heroine from the latter isn’t Garwood’s best creation), and Maeve Merrick from Danelle Harmon’s My Lady Pirate (and, fyi, there were indeed female pirates, two of whom are profiled in True Pirates of the Caribbean). And finally, Viscount Stoke from The Pirate Next Door and Christopher Raine from The Care and Feeding of Pirates, both by Jennifer Ashley.

Once a Pirate – After USAF pilot Carly Callahan is forced to eject into the sea 1,200 miles off the coast of Spain, she is rescued; it is the early 1800’s and she is aboard the pirate ship The Phoenix, captive of Andrew Spencer, who insists she is Lady Amanda Paxton, his instrument of revenge against the man who destroyed his family. Andrew, the illegitimate son of a duke, was framed by his cousin Richard; he was court-martialed and his promising Naval career destroyed. Richard is engaged to the lady, who comes with a very large dowry. As I wrote in my review some years ago: “So what if the woman he saved from the sea doesn’t look like Lady Paxton? So what if she is wearing very odd clothing and doesn’t speak like an Englishwoman? So what if she is daft? So what if she intrigues him and doesn’t seem to be the spoiled and petulant woman he’d expected? By golly, he’ll have his revenge!” This very fun, adventurous road romance was Susan Grant’s debut.

It Happened One Night – This was LaFoy’s second book, and it featured a modern women who travels back in time to early 1800s Ireland and people who are expecting a visitor from the future. Privateer Kiervan des Marceaux is forced to take the very uncooperative Alanna Chapman back to his ship. Alanna doesn’t know what’s going on, is sure the captain is insane, but after being attacked by British soldiers carrying swords, she figures things out. Because she is engaged and he is determined to marry for money, she fights the attraction, but eventually she gives in to it. Alanna doesn’t know it, but she has a purpose in Kiervan’s time. Once she fulfills her role, what will she do, and given how Kieran is fixated on marrying for a fortune, can they achieve a HEA?

The Tiger’s Bride – LaFoy’s book was my first privateer romance…my second was this Harlequin Historicals by Merline Lovelace. Privateer James Kerrick is the Third Viscount Straithe. Sara Abernathy is the ever-responsible spinster daughter of a missionary stationed in Macao. She writes Kerrick asking to accompany him on his ship to locate her missing father. Kerrick, who was drummed out of the Royal Navy, failed to respond, so Sarah confronts him at the brothel he frequents. Though he will not take up her cause, he is drawn to this funny, courageous, and passionate woman. Sarah stows away on his ship; when discovered, he vows to return her to shore for her reputation and safety, but her business acumen overcomes his sense of honor and he allows her to stay. The story includes a stint on a deserted island, as well as the re-enactment of various positions from an ancient sex manual. Throughout the story the true honor and morality of both hero and heroine are shown, and as I love about the author’s writing, there’s no whining.

Guardian Angel and The Gift – These two books are part of a terrific quartet of Regency-set historicals by Julie Garwood. The former is not set on sea, but Jade was raised by her uncle, a pirate (he nearly steals the show in his scenes), and she became a female Robin Hood. She is sent to become the “guardian angel” of the Marquis of Cainewood to protect him from a murderous plot. Their chemistry is off the charts, and much of the humor comes from Jade testing Caine’s love through outrageous behavior. Each time he “impresses” her by being equally daring…and more, by loving her even though she believes she is unlovable and unworthy of his affections. This is not a typical pirate romance, but its direct sequel is.

At the end of Caine and Jade’s story, she bequeaths her reputation to her brother Nathan, who had been married as a young teen to the four-year-old Sarah to end a family feud. In The Gift he kidnaps her fourteen years later, shortly before their marriage contracts would be voided, and she joins him on his ship, soon becoming an albatross around everyone’s neck. This is where Sarah’s TSTL reputation comes from, although I never thought of her that way. Instead, I found her sweet and innocent and defiant…all at the same time, and loved the chemistry between her and Nathan. Their story isn’t quite as good as Jade and Caine’s, but since much of it is set at sea, it is a more “pure” pirate romance.

My Lady Pirate – In Danelle Harmon’s sequel to Captain of My Heart, Maeve Merrick is a pirate who wants nothing to do with men…she sails the seas with other female pirates. Then Gray washes ashore her island and she begins to fall in love. Unfortunately, Gray is a high-ranking British admiral who must return to his post. The conflict is not only in that she is an outlaw, but that she is a superb outlaw…will Gray be able to deal with how strong and capable Maeve is?

The Pirate Next Door – When widowed Alexandria Alistair puts her supposedly staid neighbor’s name on a list of possible suitors, she had no way of knowing that Viscount Stoke was once a daring pirate who gave it all up to give his daughter a stable life. But when one’s old comrades are also pirates, there’s little chance for that, and Alexandria soon learns that she loves a man who definitely is not staid. These two share wonderful chemistry and dialogue, which is also the case in another of Jennifer Ashley’s pirate romances.

The Care and Feeding of Pirates – Four years after secretly marrying the infamous Christopher Raine on the night before he was set to be hanged, Honoria Ardmore is shocked to discover that his sentence was commuted to banishment…now he’s back in her life and determined to once again win her love. They strike a deal…she will join him on a voyage across the Atlantic and share a bed, and if by the time they arrive she decides she doesn’t love him, Christopher will agree to end their marriage. Christopher is not about to let that happen.

Last week I wrote to several authors of pirate romances and asked for their input on this column. These authors had either written one of the books I described above, or wrote a pirate romance beloved enough by readers that their books ended up on our Pirates and Vikings Special Title Listings. First up is Leslie LaFoy. Next up is Cheryl Sawyer, followed first by Jennifer Ashley, and then by Gaelen Foley, whose The Pirate Prince earned DIK status here at AAR (and whose latest book, His Wicked Kiss, stars a privateer hero). Sabrina Jeffries is next (her The Pirate Lord also earned DIK status here at AAR), followed by Susan Grant. Sylvia Day, who wrote about a pirate in her recent Bad Boys anthology, rounds things out for us. Each segment reflects the sensibility of its author, and all are illuminating and, in keeping with this week’s theme, just plain fun! (And if that’s still not enough, check out Marsha Canham’s 1997 Write Byte on the allure of pirates!)

Leslie LaFoy

In my mind, the archetypal pirate is basically Robin Hood Goes to Sea. They robbed from the rich and showered the poor with plunder. In that sense, they were not only the champions of the have-nots, but also heroic for being willing to live outside the law in order to challenge the “establishment” on behalf of the poor and downtrodden. They were men of independence, ingenuity, and bold action… high stakes gamblers who laughed in the face of danger and spit in the eye of social convention. Men who lived by their own code. Men who put the swash in the buckle of life.

If you’re looking for an extreme alpha male, pirates fit the bill quite nicely. And the females who were pirates…. Talk about boldly bucking the social norms and the laws that so rigidly restricted the lives of women of the time!! The stuff heroines are made of.

Of course the pirate archetype is all myth. Historical research indicates that the pirates operating in the Caribbean were more formally organized and governed than the modern American Mob. Add in that they didn’t really redistribute the wealth all that well and that the code by which they lived was brutal and not terribly bound by the concepts of honor and loyalty….

I much prefer the privateer. All the independence, ingenuity and high stakes gambling of the pirate, but legally in service to a legitimate political power and committed to a cause, if not higher, then at least in addition to that of personal profit. Privateers were, in a sense, honorable pirates. Men who could dine with the colonial governor on Friday night and seize an enemy ship on Saturday morning.

Now that’s my idea of a perfect hero. Cultured, educated, intelligent, and a bad boy. (You know, I think it’s time to write another pirate book. )

As for inspiration in creating pirate heroes…. I have to say that while mass media representations have certainly been entertaining, they haven’t been all that formative. I’ve been a history bug since I could first read. The historical accounts of real pirates and privateers have always, always stirred – and fed – my imagination.

Cheryl Sawyer

Do you know that Robert Louis Stevenson would probably never have written the best pirate story of all time if he hadn’t sketched a map for his stepson? He and the boy were playing a game that needed a map with X marking the spot where treasure was buried. Once Stevenson had drawn it, the boy begged for the tale that went with it – and so the book Treasure Island was born. I was by the beach in Hawaii recently, sitting in the shade of a hau tree under which Stevenson used to rest and watch his yacht floating inside the coral reef, and I marveled again at the power of one man’s imagination.

I think Stevenson is probably most to blame for the fact that I wrote my own pirate novel, Siren. Another culprit is my husband, who got hooked on the legendary figure of Jean Laffite, as portrayed by Yul Brynner in one of the tackiest films ever! It was my husband’s enthusiasm that led me to find out everything I could about the real Jean Laffite, who led a thousand cutthroats into piracy, smuggling and gun-running in and around the Caribbean and the Mexican Gulf, and eventually helped Andrew Jackson beat off the English in the great Battle of New Orleans in 1815.

While I was researching real-life piracy I came across a book published in Germany that devoted itself to women pirates through history-and there were many, most of them stunningly successful. Sida al Hurra, for instance, who ran a whole fleet of pirate vessels off the Barbary Coast, or Madame Ch’ing, who had tens of thousands of marauders under her command across the China Sea. So when I came to write the story of Jean Laffite, in which I stuck absolutely to the facts as we know them, I added a powerful fictional personage to Jean’s world – a rival who would meet him head-on in all his endeavors. A woman, as strong and determined as he, as seductive and as dangerous. In other words, not one of the pale, simpering, resourceless ladies that the film makers still tend to write into their pirate scripts. My heroine, Léonore Roncival, lives on an island in a coral sea, bigger than Stevenson’s dream island and well-protected but tempting enough for invaders to search there for buried treasure .

Another aspect of piracy that really attracts me still is that on board those ships, the men elected their own leaders – the navigators, captains and battle commanders who would lead them to victory and wealth. Men who had suffered under tyrants on land or been crippled by the harsh, hierarchical discipline of navies at sea suddenly found themselves equals in a band of comrades, able to shape their own destiny. The lure of piracy was really the lure of democracy – can we be surprised that so many men (and a handful of amazing women) embraced it until their dying day?

Jennifer Ashley

Pirates are the ultimate alpha male. They are law unto themselves, and they have to be. In reality, a pirate’s life was grim and short – the careers of most historical pirates didn’t last more than 18 months. Almost all ended up killed in attempted capture or hanged. The fun of romance is that we can take these lawless bad boys and make them human and give them happy endings with heroines who love them.

Pirates have appealed to people ever since there were pirates. Popular stories in the Hellenistic world prominently featured pirates, either as villains who kidnapped the hapless young hero and heroine or as heroes who turned to piracy after harrowing adventures. The pirates we’re most familiar with hail from the “golden age” of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. At that time, pirates such as Blackbeard and Anne Bonny became legends, living on in stories published throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Jean LaFitte, the “last” of the pirates was admired throughout the bayous and even his end was romantic – he sailed off, never to be seen again. When pirates hit film in the twentieth century, Errol Flynn became everyone’s favorite swashbuckler, only now being rivaled by Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow.

Pirates were actually quite organized, their ships run in a more orderly way than most naval ships. Rules were laid down that every man agreed to obey in order to keep everyone alive. Captures were split equally, with every man getting the same share, with the captain and his assistants getting larger shares of course. The captain was elected by the men and could be removed by them if he proved to be a poor leader.

I started writing pirate romances because not only have pirates always fascinated me, but one day I had an idea how to present pirate romance in a fresh way – marrying traditional pirates with Regencies.

I wrote The Pirate Next Door in 2002, before Pirates of the Caribbean came out. My main influences for Pirate Next Door and following books were old swashbuckler movies and of course the pirate legends. While I fully intended to have fun with pirates rather than present a historical treatise, I researched carefully to make the pirates as true to life as I could. I adore Pirates of the Caribbean and in Care and Feeding of Pirates included some brief spoofs of pirate movies.

I think the appeal of pirates will always be with us. Pirates are the perfect lone wolves—strong, making their own laws, ruthless, bold, courageous – the baddest bad boys out there. I look forward to the new Pirates of the Caribbean and of course, writing more pirates!

Gaelen Foley

Pirate heroes are the ultimate icons of personal freedom. They’re physically free on a grand scale, masters of the open ocean and of their own destinies, able to go wherever they want in their huge vessels in a historical era when most people barely traveled by pony-cart beyond the confines of their own little villages. More importantly, however, pirates represent freedom of the mind, for they refuse to be bound by conventional morality which, in ages past, could be quite oppressively rigid.

Nonconformists to the core, pirates subvert the historical status quo of strict hierarchy, and ideals like hon our and duty. Pirates make their own rules about what’s right and wrong. If you want a pirate’s allegiance, you first have to earn his respect.

Furthermore, the pirate captain’s status as an alpha male is all but unrivaled in the pantheon of romantic heroes.

As captains of large groups of rough, dangerous men – their crews – the pirate king has to possess all the charisma and brains of a natural leader. Many readers may not realize that pirate captains were democratically elected by their sea-going gangs. The men would vote on whom they wanted for their leader – this, in the age of primogeniture. How forward thinking! (Primogeniture, for non-history majors, was the accepted system by which all wealth and titles went automatically to firstborn sons.)

Once a pirate captain got elected, his power was all but absolute. Absolute power will really show what a person is made of!

On board his ship, the pirate captain is judge and jury when conflicts arise among his men, and he has to be strong enough to impose his rulings on them, for example, in dividing up portions of the booty. Also, with all of the seedy port taverns that populate pirate novels, these heroes must be able to negotiate their way through a brutal underworld that requires sharp wits and guile, along with physical prowess and fighting skill, if one is to survive.

But in contrast to his air of criminality as the dashing outlaw, the pirate’s close alliance with Nature gives him a surprising aspect of inner purity. This “noble savage” facet of the pirate hero arises from his deep, instinctive understanding of and ability to work with the most powerful forces in nature – the ocean, the wind, the sun, and the stars that he would use for navigation.

Insofar as Nature is portrayed as a spiritual force in the novel, a common theme in Romanticism, the pirate is its lusty pagan priest. Going further, if Nature is rendered by the author as a symbol of the eternal feminine (i.e. Mother Nature, Mother Earth, the Goddess, or any of the traditional associations of the feminine with the ocean, from the Catholic Church’s Mary as Stella Maris, star of the sea, to Botticelli’s Venus Rising from the Sea based on Classical mythology) then the pirate is one romantic hero who enters the story already steeped in Her mysteries and accustomed to treating Her with reverence. This is his own, untamed brand of innate chivalry – reverence for the female. (It’s no accident that his ship is always called a “she.”)

His genuine reverence for the feminine, first symbolized by the seascape around him, and then later embodied in the worthy heroine – this, along with his unique ability to think outside the confines of patriarchal hierarchies and other conventional patterns that treated women as second-class citizens – all combine make the pirate-hero just as irresistible to women readers today as he was two hundred years ago, when Lord Byron penned “The Corsair.”

Sabrina Jeffries

Here’s the thing about pirates – they don’t play by the rules and they don’t take no for an answer. We admire that, men and women alike, especially for our fantasies. Because we grow up being told how to behave and what to do and where to sit, and we chafe at those restrictions. While deep down we know that the world wouldn’t work if people weren’t civilized, the two-year-old that lurks in us all just wants to be selfish occasionally. So we enjoy watching someone else do what we secretly wish we were reckless enough to do – take what they want without apology. That’s why pirates and others of their ilk (highwaymen, rakes, bad boys in general) capture our imagination. We can vicariously rebel through them, and entertainment is all about vicarious enjoyment, getting to do things through a book or film that we’d never dream of doing in life. It’s a safe way to be a two-year-old again without risking life and limb or losing the jobs that pay for our Ipods and SUV’s, not to mention keep us from starving. Since I’m all for vicarious enjoyment, I do enjoy the occasional pirate, my favorites being the ones from The Princess Bride, Gentle Rogue, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Pirates of Penzance. I just happen to like pirates with a sense of humor.

Susan Grant

If I had to distill down what is so appealing about a pirate character, in particular a pirate captain, it’d be the incongruous blend of outlaw and commander. He’s a “bad boy” and yet he’s a leader. Obviously, the pirate captain operates outside the law, yet to run his ship effectively, he must maintain a chain of command that works and some sort of discipline system onboard or the whole operation would fall apart. His crew respects him as opposed to simply fearing him. This ability to lead “outside the box” captures my imagination every time, from the pirate captains in old Errol Flynn movies to Star Wars and Han Solo.

Sylvia Day

“I have a request,” Kathe Robin, Senior Reviewer for Romantic Times, said to me at the 2006 RT Convention. “I want you to write me a pirate tale. A single title.”

I grinned, and assured her that I would. It’s become a common request since the release of Bad Boys Ahoy!, my single author anthology (which was titled by my editor). A pirate is simply too large a character to fit within the novella length. In the case of a swashbuckler, too much is never enough.

The enduring appeal of the pirate for readers and viewers is understandable – the lure of the open sea, the laws they live by being ones they created for themselves, and the hierarchy they followed which created pirate royalty based on survival of the fittest. Or wiliest.

For me as an author, creating the fictional pirate figure grants me similar open license. From a gap-toothed scraggly sidekick, to the breeches and billowing shirt-clad hunk, to the elegant pirate with his frothing lace cuffs and wig, the exterior and interior of this historical figure is constrained by not much more than the limits of my imagination.

As an erotic romance author, tapping into the common female fantasy of the alpha male determined to get what he wants, however he wants it is exemplified by the pirate character pillaging and plundering. It’s no coincidence that those two verbs are used fairly often to describe kisses in romances. Whether or not the tale is about pirates, the words allude to the pirate fantasy, which is so powerful it sets the entire tone of the scene – a man forcefully taking what he wants (and making you love it.)

I’m pleased to see that the allure of the pirate shows no sign of waning. As both a reader and an author, I hope to see many more stories about these dashing, larger-than-life characters and their adventures. Living vicariously through them – from sword fights to bawdy, drunken revelry – is one of my pleasures.

True Caribbean Pirates

The History Channel’s two-hour documentary True Caribbean Pirates is scheduled to air on Sunday, July 9th, at 8pm/7c. (Click here for a Flash preview.) I strongly urge you to watch…it is utterly fascinating, and features terrific production values. As a tie-in they have provided us with some booty to award as prizes. I’ll be choosing names at random from the ATBF Message Board, so after your initial post, be sure to check back throughout the week to see if your name is listed (I’ll eventually need a way to contact you). Before sending you off to the board with questions, though, feel free to click this “jump” link for animated maps of routes, journeys, and incidents explored throughout the documentary…be patient as it may take a moment or so to load as a new window in your browser.

I’m such a nerd that being contacted the the History Channel, and in particular, receiving a screener on DVD, made me feel like a “member of the Academy” being sent Oscar-nominated movies for her consideration. It wasn’t until after we’d watched the documentary that I had the idea to write this ATBF about pirates, but doing so was incredibly fun for me. Being that it’s summer, I thought it would be fun to open up the message board not only to pirate books and movies, but to other summer “escapist” fare. I know that I’ll be packing books for my short vacation soon and that many of you have already done so this summer…or soon will.

Have you ever seen a pirate movie? If so, what was it, did you like it, and why? If not, why not?

Have you ever read a romance starring a pirate or privateer hero? If so, what was it, did you like it, and why? If not, why not?

What qualities do you think the pirate/privateer hero brings to romance, and what about their heroines? (You can flip this question for pirate queens and their heroes, naturally.) Are there qualities in a pirate’s love that are specific?

Why does the pirate hero remain such a romantic figure, particularly since the true lives of pirates was so very different?

Finally…beach books. Let’s talk about them. What did you take to read on your vacation, or what do you plan to take this summer, and why? What have been successful “beach reads” for you in past years?

TTFN, as Tigger said to Winnie the Pooh,

TTFN, as Tigger said to Winnie the Pooh,

Laurie Likes Books

True Caribbean Pirates page on the web (includes a variety of links)

Post your comments and/or questions to our Potpourri Message Board

(AAR uses BYRON for its romance reference needs)

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