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Written by Celia Rees

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Pirates! Review

Adventure Stories Books of the Month Featured Books for 13+ readers Historical Fiction Star Books

This exceptional story of 18th-century female pirates packs almighty punch for 21st-century readers

November 2021 Book of the Month

Absolutely dazzling. With exemplary research that beautifully integrates details of time and place, outstanding characterisation that rings with empathy and authenticity, and powerfully resonant themes, Celia Rees’ Pirates is a true triumph of historic fiction.

I could say what a swashbuckling adventure this is. How brilliantly the book conjures the thrills and dangers of life on the piratical high seas; what an incredible page-turner it is. And, while Pirates! certainly is all these things, it’s also much, much more. Centred around two extraordinary young women readers will truly care about, it conveys the brutality of slavery in the West Indies, and how women were but pawns in a man’s world - forced into slavery on white-owned plantations, and enslaved by marriage, too.

Nancy is the free-spirited daughter of a merchant. Minerva is a strong young woman enslaved in Jamaica. Following his death, Nancy travels to Jamaica, where she meets Minerva on her father’s plantation, and they immediately strike up a bond. As grotty circumstances escalate and close in, the young women flee the lives the world has set out for them by becoming pirates. There’s tremendous tension, epic action, and a gorgeous sense of sisterhood (and romance, too) as the women sail the world determined to live the lives they deserve. May this reissue make its way to legions of new readers - teenagers, young adults and adults alike. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Joanne Owen

Pirates! Synopsis

From the author of the bestselling and award-winning Witch Child, comes another outstanding historical novel.

When two young women meet under extraordinary circumstances in the eighteenth-century West Indies, they are unified in their desire to escape their oppressive lives.

The first is a slave, forced to work in a plantation mansion and subjected to terrible cruelty at the hands of the plantation manager.

The second is a spirited and rebellious English girl, sent to the West Indies to marry well.

But fate ensures that one night the two young women have to save each other and run away to a life no less dangerous but certainly a lot more free. As pirates, they roam the seas, fight pitched battles against their foes and become embroiled in many a heart-quickening adventure.

Written in brilliant and sparkling first-person narrative, this is a wonderful novel in which Celia Rees has brought the past vividly and intimately to life.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781526632302
Publication date: 14/10/2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781526632302
Publication date: 14th October 2021
Author: Celia Rees
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 448 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers
Genres: Adventure Stories, Historical Fiction
Recommendations: Books of the Month, Star Books
Collections: Best Children's Books of 2021,

About Celia Rees

Celia Rees has written over twenty books for Young Adults and is best known for her historical fiction. Her first historical novel, Witch Child, was translated into 28 languages. Witch Child and subsequent titles, Sorceress and Pirates!, were shortlisted for the Guardian, Whitbread (Costa) and W.H. Smith Awards in the UK and won awards in the UK, USA, France and Italy. She lives in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, UK and divides her time between writing, talking to readers in schools and libraries, reviewing and teaching creative writing.   Photo credit: Sue Foll

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