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By mid-September, plenty of people are already well into spooky season and breaking out the Halloween decorations, but don't forget about National Talk Like a Pirate Day! This day may have started as a parody holiday and a bit of a joke, but given the popularity of the Golden Age of Piracy (and a desire to find silliness and joy in everyday life), it’s become a day for every seafaring fan to break out the “ahoy mateys.”

Of course, for those looking for a little inspiration for their piratical vocabulary, there are plenty of pop culture pirates to choose from. And of course, it’s possible to go for the big guns like Captain Hook, Long John Silver, but there are plenty of lesser-known pirates in literature that also deserve attention this September.

 

In Deeper Waters by F. T. Lukens

Swashbuckling YA romance awaits in this fantastic (and fantasy) tale of a young man with magical powers and his connection to a young rogue, Athlen. Kidnapped by pirates, the two young men find their way to each other, but who will rescue who? In a genre where the majority of stories lack real diversity, this is a breath of fresh sea air to appeal to YA readers.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Books A Million | Bookshop.org

 

Cinnamon & Gunpowder by Eli Brown

Usually, the focus of a pirate tale is adventure, romance, battles on the high seas…not cooking on a pirate ship. Cinnamon and Gunpowder, however, switches this up to great effect. Eli Brown’s adventure centers on a middle-aged chef, kidnapped by pirates to cook glorious gourmet meals once a week (or lose his life). Rich, detailed, delicious, and often hilarious, Cinnamon & Gunpowder is definitely a departure - and one well worth the read.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Books A Million | Bookshop.org

 

Vampirates series by Justin Somper

If just the usual swashbucklers are not sufficient, what about pirate vampires - or vampirates? This series of novels by Somper are a whole lot of fun, although they are not necessarily intended to be taken seriously. Twins separated at birth, wars between pirates and vampirates, sea battles, cozy taverns, and more. These are perfect books to read for the sheer fun of it.

Buy the 1st book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Books A Million | Bookshop.org

 

The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson

Something for older readers, this beautiful book weaves together modern day and the golden age of piracy in two timelines that eventually cross. One takes place in Cornwall, where a young woman with a talent for embroidery is captured by pirates, and the other starts in London, where a woman struggles to deal with the end of a relationship and discovers a family mystery that will connect with the young women taken so long ago.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Books A Million | Bookshop.org

 

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

A young pirate girl hides herself as a boy to live on the high seas and falls in love with a captured highborn passenger on her way to her arranged marriage. This novel has shades of Twelfth Night but is so much more than another story of hidden identities and love. Commentary on colonialism, gender roles, and so much more are found within this novel, as well as all the swashbuckling a pirate fan could ask for.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Books A Million | Bookshop.org

 

A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix by C. B. Lee

As a re-telling of Treasure Island, A Clash of Steel is incredible. Changing the setting to the South China Sea, referencing some of the famous female pirates of history, and spinning the focus to a pair of young women treasure hunting at the end of the Golden Age of Piracy. One of the best things about A Clash of Steel is that is does draw on history. Zheng Yi Sao is one of the most notorious female pirates in history, and this book gives her more attention, while still creating new characters for the freedom to create a unique tale.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Books A Million | Bookshop.org

 

What are your favorite underrated pirate novels? Tweet us at @quirkbooks and let us know! And check out our Scurvy Awareness Day roundup of pirate books for more recommendations.


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