The Incorrigible Harriet Dumont

Summer Pirate Reading 3

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Two more pirate novels read this summer, both channelling Anne Bonny in different ways.

The Queen of Swords by R. S. Belcher

The first two books of this trilogy, The Six-Gun Tarot and The Shotgun Arcana, are set in the Wild West town of Golgotha, a town rock deep in Lovecraftean horrors and very living myths from all round the world, with a cast diverse enough that HPL would have had a fit. This book follows one major cast member and one previously minor one: Maude Stapleton – respectable widow, mother, and unbeatable-unkillable warrior of the sisterhood of Lilith – and her great-great-something grandmother, Anne Bonny, queen of the pirates.

In 1870, Maude is back East, fighting for the legal right to her inheritance and the custody of her daughter, and also fighting horrible monsters from the dawn of time, as well as her own “sisters”. Anne historically correctly disappears from prison in 1721 and, obviously, goes on a quest to find Carcosa and its ancient, terrible secrets (and hopefully treasure beyond measure). She doesn’t get to do much pirating, mostly being on a trek through half of Africa, but she is such a quintessential pirate everything she does is pirating. At one point she even uses the phrase “fair winds and following seas” which is especially gratifying to me, since that is how I sign my books. I do miss Golgotha – we only get a few tantalising glimpses of it in letters from Mutt – and the whole blood-of-Lilith thing gets a bit much from time to time, but I very much enjoyed the book, especially Anne’s chapters.

Magic of Blood and Sea by Cassandra Rose Clarke

An omnibus of the duology The Assassin’s Curse and The Pirate’s Wish. Ananna of the Tanarau is the only child of a pirate captain, and is supposed to be married off to the son of another pirate captain for an alliance. She, however, says Fuck That Shit, I want to captain my own ship unfettered by a fool of a husband, and runs away. An assassin gets sent after her, things happen, and Ananna and the assassin, Naji, are bound together by a curse. Adventures, some predictable and some unpredictable, happen; romance, some predictable and some unpredictable, happens. If you want to picture Naji, Zuko in the later seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender goes a long way. If you want to hear Ananna’s voice in your head, think Clara Paget’s Anne Bonny in Black Sails, only more angry than sullen. A good solid YA read with satisfying pirate levels.

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