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on 2 December 2012
I - unashamedly - love this book. I first read it during labour with my first child and it was a brilliant, if slightly surreal, distraction from what else was going on.

War and peace it ain't and maybe it is aimed at kids (although I remain to be convinced of this) but it is a great little novel which will make you smile, snigger and generally want to keep reading to the end. There is nothing amazingly clever about it, nor will it win literary prizes for it's plot, but it is one of life's little pleasures. Thoroughly enjoyable, immensely re-readable and definitely one which improves on reading out loud.

If you have watched the movie - be warned - the story line is not the same.
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on 8 September 2004
The best work of comic fiction since, well. Since Terry Pratchett stabbed comic fiction dead, as it was waiting for the night bus home.
A book written so lovingly, and with such a transparent relish for the subject matter, that you'd have to be dry, joyless and some kind of diseased parasite not to enjoy it.
Yes, it uses piratical cliché - but that's all seven seas away from actually being piratically clichéd; the author's knowledge and blatant fondness for this well-worn genre allow him to tinker with, prod at, tweakily subvert and make funny all the things we'd expect of pirates, and without which we'd be confused, and wonder why we were reading a pirate book in the first place.
The author does all this, and never once veers into being smug, or saying "goodness me, look how clever I was there, that was a play on words, I must be wonderful". It's quite simply the most likeable and funny book I've read in my entire, stupid life.
As this book is so short, however, I must insist that the author writes many, many, more of them.
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on 20 June 2015
Funny story but not the same as the Aardman film of the same title.
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on 3 August 2004
The Pirates is a very funny book and you would have to be the Bishop of Oxford not to enjoy it! Plenty of Pirate jokes and Arrrrring but there is also some very funny bits involving Hams, Charles Darwin, Victorian Freak Shows and the Natural History Museum.
I am very much looking forward to the next installment, in which I am hoping that the Pirate Captain will reveal his secret for how he keeps his beard so silky!
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on 23 April 2012
Some Pirates set off on an adventure with Charles Darwin, to exhibit his new discovery - the Manpanzee, a chimp who understands basic etiquette and wears a suit - and save his brother Erasmus from the evil Bishop.

The book's comparisons to Blackadder are very generous, while the book is obviously written in a comical tone, it doesn't square up to the wit of Ben Elton and Richard Curtis' scripts.

It doesn't care about characters so much, none of the pirates have names and are called simply "the Pirate Captain" and "the Pirate with a scarf", and so on. It doesn't care about plot or story, it just kind of meanders from one thing to the next, seemingly at random. History is skewered as 17th century pirates mingle in Victorian London and speak in a 21st century vernacular.

Basically the novel is absolute rubbish and was apparently written to impress a girl the author liked to convince her to leave her boyfriend (she didn't).

But while the novel is utter crap, it should be required reading for anyone aspiring to become a novelist themselves because as you read it you're thinking "THIS counts? THIS can get published? That's amazing, now that load of cobblers I put together in a few weeks stands as much a chance as any!". If the bar is this low, anyone can make it over, and anyone reading this would gain the confidence to complete their projects knowing that whatever they're writing, it stands as much a chance of getting picked up by Hollywood and made into a movie.

One star for the book, another for the positive impact its existence is likely to have on writers with self-doubt.
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on 26 January 2017
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on 21 May 2004
I didn't really expect much from this book, as I'm getting quite sick of comic fiction. But as soon as I started reading I was drawn in by the unique tone that the author has used. 'The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists' tells the story of a crew of hapless pirates on an adventure that takes in Charles Darwin, Victorian London and a 'man-panzee' as well as having fun with the usual pirate clichés. More importantly, it's packed with actual jokes.
It took me a while to get used to the characters (none of the pirates have names!) but when you get into it, the book moves on at a fair pace. It's a bit short, but then it's pretty clear that the author didn't intend to write a pretentious slab of 'proper literature' so much as make the reader laugh. I'd definitely recommend 'The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists' to anyone with a sense of humour and an interest in the development of Darwinism.
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on 5 January 2004
Have just read the final chapter (after all the previous chapters I must add) and I have thoroughly enjoyed it (that’s the whole book and not just the final chapter). Lots of feasting (which sort of dies out towards the end of the book), plans, pirating (which includes a fair bit of running through with cutlasses). There’s some plank walking, ham and appearances from well-known celebrities of their time Charles Darwin, The Elephant Man, The Bishop of Oxford and Mr Bobo the Man-Panzee.
There are some truly laugh-out-loud moments including one ladies first meeting of The Elephant Man.
Although the back of the book mentions Blackadder as a reference, think Monty Python does pirating movie mixed with some George Macdonald Frasier (Flashman novels) and the 70s movie version of The Three Musketeers and you’re on the right path. There are some cunning plans though.
Not going to spoil it by telling you what exactly happens – except there is a fair bit of pirate Arrrrrrrring. Did I mention the hams?
Only downside? Too damn short! Interesting sciencey bits though!
I want more adventures with the Pirate Captain and his no.2, the pirate with the scarf.
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on 2 July 2012
I bought this for a stupidly cheap price in a discount bookshop last weekend. I can only assume a film tie-in cover is now available...

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists was extremely good fun from beginning to end. Genuinely funny, with charming nods to the Doctor Who novelisations of Terrance Dicks, the whole story is very silly and glorious fun. I gather it's the first volume in a whole series of Pirates-based books, and I fully intend to read my way through the series. A book for children of all ages (and I'm 33, so make of that what you will...)!
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VINE VOICEon 25 March 2012
For some reason when you read this book, the stereotypical pirates voice comes into your mind and you cannot get it out! But this is a good thing, I promise....Oo-Arr Jim Lad....

This is the first in a series of books, by Gideon Defoe where the pirates are goodies as much as baddies. I have made an assumption that this book is aimed at children of around 9-12 years, it is certainly pitched as such in some well know book store. Whoever it is aimed at this is a book that warrants being read out loud to children and as an adult enjoyed just as much out loud or with no noise at all. The witty humour that Defoe puts in the book is as relevant for adults as it is educational for children.

The Pirate Captain and his " rag-tag" crew are bored after adventures so when an arch rival changes his mind and advises them of a ship full of gold, they set sail on the high seas. They sight the ship they believe to hold the treasure and mount an attack, only to find that there is no treasure to be had, in fact there is only scientific treasures on board. The budding new scientist, a young Charles Darwin embraces their enthusiasm after an initial scare when they arrive. They will help in his quest with the Man-panzee and to challenge those who think differently about evolution, whilst at the same time saving his brother.

Do not fret, this book is in no way into theorising about such things, everything is a given and anything you did not know, is helpfully explained by the author. Great for the kids, rather tongue in cheek for the adults.

The book is full of humour from the names of the pirates; the pirate with the scarf; the pirate who wears green; the albino pirate; the pirate with a nut allergy. Everyone is welcome in this pirate world. All of them have their place in the adventure and will they be able to use their Pirate skill to save the day?

Only one way to find out - go and buy the book.

A subtle sort of humour which will leave you with a wry smile. Read it yourself, read it with your children and read it again!
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