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The Pyrates Paperback – 2 Jun 2008


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The Pyrates + Black Ajax + Mr American (Flashman Papers)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (2 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006470173
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006470175
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The author of the famous 'Flashman Papers' and the 'Private McAuslan' stories, George MacDonald Fraser has worked on newspapers in Britain and Canada. In addition to his novels he has also written numerous films, most notably 'The Three Musketeers', 'The Four Musketeers', and the James Bond film, 'Octopussy'. George Macdonald Fraser died in January 2008 at the age of 82.

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Review

Praise for ‘The Pyrates’

‘Its all there right down to a Dead Man’s Chest, cleavages that are everything they should be and characters in sea bootswho say nothing but “Arr!” and “Me Hearty!” in a plot that is wonderfully absurd.
Financial Times

‘Fabulous…you’ll want to stay up all night reading this one.’
Washington Post

‘The most wonderfully idiotic lovesong to swashbucklers ever set to Korngold trumpets. Fraser again proves himself the master.’
New York Times

Praise for ‘Black Ajax’:

‘Mr Fraser is a great historical novelist and in Black Ajax he is at the very top of his form. Damme if he ain’t.’
Christopher Matthew, Daily Mail

‘This is not a flashy novel, wearing its learning noisily. It’s rigorous, intelligent, meticulously horrifying. Wonderfully well done.’
Nicci Gerrard, Observer

Book Description

“An Unfathomable Delight” The New Yorker

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By ohthreeksixfour on 25 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
Oh how good is this book? I first read it after I caught my dad chortling away with his nose stuck into it and now we have two copies in the house (one each) so we don't fight over it any more! Yes, the dialogue may be corny but that's what makes it so good. The action speeds across the seven seas and the modern touches are perfect. It's entirely silly and over-the-top but on a rainy Saturday I suggest you curl up with a mug of sometihng hot and sweet (possibly with a tot of medicinal brandy) and follow Long Ben Avery et al from the Atlantic to the Caribbean and all over the oceans, wi' a wannion. If you like swash-buckling old-fashioned adventure with a sense of merciless glee please read this book.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Peter Arundel on 23 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
I read this book when I was about 16 and almost two decades on it's still one of my favourites. Yes, it's very silly but it's silly in a way that pokes affectionate fun at those wonderful swash-buckling hollywood movies such as "Anne of the Indies" and "Blackbeard the Pirate". The characters are a mostly drawn from history (Colonel Blood, Ben Avery, "Calico Jack" Rackham and Anne Bonny were all real people) though they are all portrayed in a wonderful Hollywood way. This story has everything; A handsome hero, a caddish anti-hero, flashing eyed ladies o' quality, fierce indians, lost cities, buried treasure, desperate sword-fights on desert islands, d'ye see? Tall ships crewed by swarthy rogues in head scarves and eye-patches, spanish soldiery in breastplates and morions crying, "Caramba!" and failing to shoot straight. Damsels in distress, torture, danger, adventure and vasty booty, har, har, look'ee, wi' a curse!! The only similar concept that I can think of was "Strike!" by The Comic Strip.
At the end there is a short treatise on the historical characters. Believe me some of their stories are much stranger than anything dreamed up by Hollywood. Anyway, unless you are such a fan of Flashman that nothing else will do, I can heartily recommend "The Pyrates"
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tryp on 1 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
George MacDonald Fraser obviously had great fun writing this and it is a joy to join him and his characters on their adventures. Every pirate and adventure cliche going is in this and then some, hilariously ludicrous plotting, corny pirate speak and devilish villany abound. If you are a Flashman fan you may not go for this one, it's far more over the top than those books, much funnier though, a great way to spend a weekend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peasant TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
I was hoping this would be in a similar vein to the great, unparalleled and utterly marvelous memoirs of H. Flashman Esq. If that is what you're hoping for, you'll be disappointed; it is a very different kettle of fish.

McDonald Fraser has written a meta-textual swashbuckler, replete with authorial comments, self-conscious in-jokes, gleeful anachronisms and cinematic references. This is a "marmite" matter - you'll either love this kind of thing or hate it. I would be displaying a personal bias if I marked the book down on solely that account. While I very much enjoy the accurate historical context which sends a shiver down the spine as Flashman lurches from near-miss to almost-disaster, I was prepared to hold my fire and read the book on its merits.

Sadly, I do not think McDonald Fraser pulls it off. The anachronisms are too many, too silly, and too jarring. But that is not all. The action sequences are written without the light touch we are used to, and the plot is too predictable, too repetitive. The humour doesn't work because none of the characters - not even the Flashman-like Colonel Blood - is sufficiently fully rounded and human, so we don't care enough about their misadventures, while the constant anachronisms undermine the effectiveness of the "in-period" stuff.

This could have been a fantastic book if Fraser had given it his best shot. Clearly he wanted to do something different, and he was getting on by the time he wrote it - but oh, we can only mourn the novel we didn't get; the one which might have consisted of Colonel Blood's narrative in plea for another free pardon, after events rooted in the real events of the Spanish Main. History is quite exciting enough without needing to jazz it up with lumps of Hollywood flummery.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
Author George MacDonald Fraser, the accomplished British author of the FLASHMAN PAPERS and the Private McAuslan trilogy, has also toiled as a Hollywood scriptwriter. And he's been fascinated by pirate stories all his life. Thus, in THE PYRATES, the reader is treated to what could serve as the script for the funniest, most outrageous buccaneer saga ever not put on film.

The hero of THE PYRATES is Captain Ben Avery, RN, the handsomest, most chivalrous, noblest, most incorruptible, bravest, most dutiful, and most unseducible man ever to wield an officer's sword on behalf of His Majesty. In Avery, as with every other of the novel's characters, Fraser has lovingly created a caricature. In any case, the time is "the old and golden days of England". King Charles occupies the throne. Ben is ordered to secretly convey a priceless crown to the King of Madagascar. On the same outbound ship are Admiral Lord Rooke and his gorgeous daughter Vanity. Of course, seafaring rascals capture the vessel, steal the crown, abandon Ben on a sandspit, and sell Vanity into white slavery. The tabloids (!) blame Avery for the debacle, and the remainder of the book has our superhero valiantly struggling to rescue honor, crown and Vanity from assorted scoundrels and near things. Of course, even the villains are occasionally endearing, especially if they're British, e.g. Colonel Blood, RA (Cashiered), a darker version of Avery without the ethics or meticulous dress code. And, needless to say, Captain Ben is besotted with Vanity, though his appreciation for her considerable charms is entirely platonic, anything more prurient unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.
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