For as long as they've existed, pirates have conjured up visions of high-seas adventure and skullduggery, sea chases and bloody battles, dangerous coastal lairs and buried treasure. Rightly so, for ever since ships have carried valuable cargo, pirates have enraged monarchs and struck terror into the hearts of honest seamen with their willingness to risk life and limb for an undeserved share of the riches. Whether the cargo was gold or silver, spices or silks, animal or human, there have always been villains ruthless enough to kill or be hanged for it.
From the days of the Vikings to the present and in all the oceans of the world, pirates have made their presence known and feared. Recorded here are their stories along with striking images of ships, storms at sea, and secret harbors where "black ships" could be re-stocked and refitted.
Award-winning author and artist William Gilkerson has spent years researching and painting their colorful history. From the terrible Black Beard to the fascinating Granuaile, or Grace O'Malley as the English called her, they have come to life under his brush. One can almost hear the creak of timbers, the snap of canvas while turning the pages. This gift book is a rich treasure in its own right
Beginning with Vikings and conquistadores, this account of pirate history chronicles swashbucklers up through the 19th century, accompanied by alluring illustrations. Gilkerson's paintings have exceptional detail, as moonlit seascapes evoke both danger and grandeur. The notorious Blackbeard, described in his own time as "altogether an idea of a fury, from hell," is shown armed with multiple muskets and a menacing glare. Gilkerson's affection for the subject is clear, especially in an epilogue about a sailing trip with a few modern-day smugglers in the Caribbean: "the cast of characters had not changed, nor the moon, nor the dark seas sliding under us." Readers should be entranced both by the art and the visceral descriptions of life at sea. Ages 10-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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October 31, 2009
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