The Incorrigible Harriet Dumont

Pirates who’ve inspired me, part 4: PIratica


Artemisia Fitz-Willoughby Weatherhouse has been a student at the Angels Academy for Young Maidens for six years, since she was ten. She has no memory of her life before that time, nor of her parents. Then one night she hits her head, and she remembers her adventurous childhood: her mother was the pirate queen Molly Faith, known as Piratica, who captained the feared ship Unwelcome Stranger. The names make seafarers tremble in terror to this day.

Artemisia promptly runs away from the school to gather her mother’s crew once more and reclaim her life and her legacy, renaming herself Art Blastside. Minor setbacks, such as the fact that her newly recovered memories might not be quite complete and/or accurate, will not stop Art. They have a ship, a crew, and the seas, and their treasures and nemeses might be very real indeed.

Probably the most swashbuckling pirate trilogy I’ve read to date, Tanith Lee’s Piratica novels begin in the year Seventeen-Twelvety, a version of 1802 in an alternate world where the 1789 revolution was in Britain, not France, and many things are different. Pirates, however, are of course – everywhere, everywhen – pirates. So much fun to read, greedily playing with and lovingly subverting so many pirate tropes, and still getting in a lot of gravitas about parents, destiny, relationships, responsibility, rebellion, etc. Also, tharr be parrots.