Monday, December 24, 2007

Pirate Spirit

Pirate Spirit:
The Adventures of Anne Bonney
by Jeffery S. Williams
(iUniverse / 978-1-58348-467-8 / July 2007 / 240 pages / $14.95)

Jeffery Williams' Pirate Spirit is certainly one of the better books reviewed here at iUBR, particularly in the area of compositional style. Ex-journalist and current high school English teacher Williams shows off his experience with the consistent quality of his first novel. Based on the true story of Anne Bonney, a teenage girl who decides to disguise herself as a boy and join a pirate crew in the early 1700's, Pirate Spirit smoothly rolls over the warm, Caribbean waves with taut editing and articulate dialogue. The only rat on this elegant ship is the one who's been paid under the table to provide The Proofreading Police with vermin to exterminate. The two cats employed on Captain Rackham's schooner are a little overworked.

The error count, which in truth is not that bad, and mostly of a minor nature, would be a little more excusable if this was the first edition of this book, but it is not. Pirate Spirit was first released in 2006 as Anne Bonney: My Pirate Story. Like Susan Higginbotham's The Traitor's Wife and others, this is one of those iU books that sold enough copies at Amazon to qualify for a repackaging by iUniverse. The new title and cover, in my opinion, are a definite improvement, and the new version is now sold at Amazon at a discount price. My only negative comment is that both iU and the author still allowed too many typos to slip through the cracks of the pirate ship deck! This is one of the same old issues that continue to give POD books a bad reputation, and Pirate Spirit deserves better.

Let's get on with the raping, pillaging, murder and larceny on the high seas! If only more iU authors could write smooth, fluid prose like Jeffery S. Williams, my job here at iUBR would be a lot more pleasant. Mr. Williams the schoolteacher may not completely approve of what I am about to say, but I have to mention it. From the earliest pages of Pirate Spirit, which has been written in first-person-singular, present tense, I was reminded of the naughty legend, Fanny Hill, but without all the heavy breathing, of course. With appropriate input from his wife, Katherine, Jeffery has captured the very essence of a teenage girl in this historical fiction novel. Like the infamous Fanny Hill, this is a novel written by an adult man in the voice of a young girl, and the author has done an exceptional job. Credibility and realism lead the reader through every page. Quite likely all the buyers and readers of Pirate Spirit are fans of Johnny Depp, but when I was in high school, we all read Fanny Hill. Of course it was no more an officially required experience then than Pirates of the Caribbean is now, but it was certainly a lot of fun! So is Pirate Spirit.

The Author's Website
Review of Who's to Blame? by Jeffery S. Williams

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