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Knowledge Base .: Archives Fiction and Non-Fiction Reviews .: Historical Fiction .: Reviewer: N. Goldman .: Pirate Spirit: The Adventures of Anne Bonney

Pirate Spirit: The Adventures of Anne Bonney

Click Here To Purchase From Amazon Pirate Spirit: The Adventures of Anne Bonney

Author: Jeffery S. Williams

ISBN: 9781583484678

High school English teacher Jeffery S. Williams, who has worked as a journalist and freelance writer, cuts his creative teeth with his debut novel Pirate Spirit: The Adventures of Anne Bonney. The novel focuses on Anne Bonney, one of history’s most infamous female pirates, who along with another well-known female pirate, Mary Reade, plied their illegal trade in the dangerous infested waters of the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy in the early 1700s.

Williams succeeds in achieving gripping narrative tension as he deftly paints the character of Anne Bonney’s life beginning in Ireland where she was born out of a scandalous adulterous affair to Peg Brennan who had been the uneducated chambermaid to William McCormack, a nobleman of considerable means.

Her early years were not exactly pleasant as she was constantly taunted by her well heeled classmates and called “illegitimate, a bastard, a whore’s daughter, and a harlap’s whelp.” The one bright light in her life was her uncle Edward, whom she adored and who was always offering her advice on honesty, dignity, discipline and tolerance, until one day all of his counsel changed her forever.

Bonney had been attacked by a ferocious dog and only due to the quick heroic intervention of her uncle was she saved from certain death.  This event instilled in her a toughness that helped her cope with many of her future trials and tribulations she would face as she vowed never to accept the role of a victim.

From Ireland, Anne traveled with her mother, father and uncle across the Atlantic to the New World where on board ship she would hide and listen in on the fascinating sailors’ conversations describing the natives who inhabited the Carolinas, the slaves who were brought to America to work the plantations and the roving pirates. As she learns, the latter were “beholden to no nation, sea-robbers who roamed the oceans in search of ships to attack and plunder.”

Settling in Charles Towne, and after the death of her mother, Anne experiences her first pirate encounter when the famous Blackbeard blockaded the port of Charles Towne, robbing eight vessels and bringing shipping to a standstill. Anne was fascinated by the pirates whose bravery she admired as well as their freedom to live on the open water even though they terrorized people and broke the law without fear of punishment. It was also during the blockade that Anne noticed the well-groomed Jack Rackham, a consort to Blackbeard, with whom she later runs off with after jilting her husband James Bonney. However, prior to her amorous entanglement with Rackham, we learn of Anne’s initial fondness for her husband, James, who bewitched her with the talk of the ocean and piracy. Unfortunately for James, he wasn’t exactly the husband Anne bargained for and he quickly lost her respect, particularly when he became a lackey and snitch for the Governor of the Island.

As the story builds to an exciting conclusion, we read about the unique and mysterious relationship between Anne and Rackham and how Anne joins Rackham in his pirate adventures, initially deceiving him into believing she is a man and eventually revealing her secret. When Anne insists that she participate with Rackham in his illicit adventures, she is informed that there are no female pirates, as it is bad luck to have women aboard a pirate’s ship. However after some reconsideration Rackham accepts her as part of his crew disguised as Edward O’Malley Brennan, the name of her dear uncle. Anne was by day a pirate, and by night the paramour. Throughout her various escapades, Anne proves herself to be a worthy pirate engaging in various dangerous battles and holding her own, effectively participating in the looting and plundering of ships and dividing up the spoils without the slightest hint that she was a female. Nonetheless, although she loved the high seas and the adventure, she abhorred the greed, murders and grotesque actions of the men which are all vividly described.

Williams is certainly a talented writer and each piece of Pirate Spirit: The Adventures of Anne Bonney is well-crafted. Taking acceptable dramatic liberties, his observations and scenes are dazzling as he immerses his readers in the New World of the 1700s with his vivid descriptions of the sights, dangers, sounds and atrocities of the era, as if  he was recounting a recent trip. He is also very gifted in creating composite fictional characters while compressing events in order to stitch the action together more coherently. Moreover, he has a keen hand with characterization particularly with Anne and Rackham who are realistically drawn and laden with their flaws and internal conflicts.

And, as we learn from his Acknowledgements, with the aid of his wife Katherine’s intuition and discernment into the human psyche, he effectively succeeds in comprehending the mysterious, romantic ways and whims of the feminine spirit. As he mentions in the opening pages, it certainly is a challenge for a man to consider writing from a woman’s point of view, something he probably could not have done without his wife’s aid and input.

We must be thankful to have novelists like Williams for their meticulous research skills and superb talent to reconstruct the past in a way that is entertaining and at the same time highly illuminating that make history come alive.

Click Here to Read Norm's Interview With Jeffery S. Williams

The above review was contributed by: The Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com, Norm Goldman, B.A. LL.L, Retired Title Attorney: Norm is also a travel writer and together with his artist wife, Lily, the couple meld Norm's words with Lily's art. To check out their travel site click on Sketchandtravel.com   Click here to view Norm’s Reviews & Interviews.

Click Here To Purchase From Amazon Pirate Spirit: The Adventures of Anne Bonney

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