Top Ten Favourite Pirate Books!

Captain Calico Jack reading a book to celebrate World Book Day at Pirate's Quest Newquay, Cornwall

For World Book Day, the crew at Pirate’s Quest have selected their ‘top ten’ great Pirate books for some swashbuckling story telling!

10. PIRATE FREEDOM (2007) Gene Wolfe
This fantasy novel follows the story of Chris as he is transported back in time to the Caribbean during Golden Age of Piracy – Calico Jack’s favourite place and time!

9. PIRATEOLOGY (2006) Dugald Steer
Pirateology is the 1720 work of fictitious pirate hunter, Captain William Lubber as he is hot on the trial of dastardly pirate Arabella Drummond. Although our crew don’t condone pirate hunting, they love the interactive elements in this book, with a new discovery on every page!

8. THE NIGHT PIRATES (2007) Peter Harris
Our Captain, Calico Jack, doesn’t believe the superstition that it’s bad luck to have a woman on board a ship… in fact he’s quite fond of female crewmates! So he was thrilled to find that ‘The Night Pirates’ has a whole ship full of girl pirates! This delightful picture book is full of swashbuckling adventure for miniature buccaneers.

7. THE PYRATES (1983) George MacDonald Fraser
This novel contains everything you could want from a pirate book – famous swashbucklers, desert islands, buried treasure, glamorous heroines and even the black spot. But the highlight of this story has to be the appearance of Captain Calico Jack – if he had his way this book would be Number One!

6. ON STRANGER TIDES (1987) Tim Powers
Providing the inspiration for the fourth instalment of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ film series, this is the thrilling tale of Jack Shandy (a puppeteer turned pirate) and his encounter with the notorious Blackbeard, who is building an army of the living dead in hopes of journeying to the fountain of youth!

5. THE PIRATES! IN AN ADVENTURE WITH SCIENTISTS (2004) Gideon Defoe
This is first book in the hugely popular ‘The Pirates!’ series and was even made into a hilarious animated film in 2012. As the Golden Age of Piracy draws to a close, the ‘Pirate Captain’ leads his crew from the exotic Galapagos islands to the murky streets of Victorian London, where they embark on an epically daft adventure, meeting the Elephant Man and even a young Charles Darwin.

4. HORRIBLE HISTORIES HANDBOOKS: PIRATES (2006) Terry Deary
The crew here at Pirate’s Quest are massive Horrible History fans! This colourful, fun handbook contains everything a pirate-fan needs to know about the favourite famous seafarers, with all the gore and nastiness left in! Discover who were the baddest buccaneers, unmask pirate myths, and learn to talk just like a pirate. Arrr!

3. THE PIRATE CRUNCHER (2010) Jonny Duddle
Pirate fans of all ages will love this cheeky picture book – all of our crew are huge fans. ‘The Pirate Cruncher’ is as much fun to look at as it is to read. The quirky story of adventure, sea monsters and treasure goes hand in hand with the bold illustrations of the larger than life characters. The students that visited us from Camelford School adored this book!

2. PETER AND WENDY (1911) J.M. Barrie
There have been appearances from a few famous pirates in this countdown, from Calico Jack to Blackbeard, but none are as famous as the sinister Captain Hook. This fictitious buccaneer makes his first appearance in ‘Peter and Wendy’, the story of Peter Pan the boy who wouldn’t grow up. Not only does this classic contain pirates, but also fairies, Indians and Lost Boys, but the notorious villain, Captain James Hook is definitely the favourite amongst the crew.

1. TREASURE ISLAND (1883) Robert Louis Stevenson
Topping our list is the original classic swashbuckling tale. ‘Treasure Island’ follows the exciting adventures of Jim Hawkins as he sails the high seas aboard the Hispaniola in search of a tropical island and buried treasure. This epic novel and the 1950 Disney film adaptation have influenced pirate popular culture more than any other story or movie. This tale sees the introduction of treasure maps marked with an ‘X’, the Black Spot, walking the plank, one-legged seamen with parrots on their shoulders, and of course the loveable rogue, Long John Silver. This is a favourite amongst our crew and if you haven’t read it yet, sail your ship to the nearest book store and pick up a copy!