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4.5 152
by Celia Rees

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At the dawn of the eighteenth century, when girls stay home and sew while men saidl the high seas finding adventure, danger and gold, two unusual girls, Nancy Kington and Minerva Sharpe, one a rich merchant's daughter, the other her plantation slave, set sail from Jamaica on a ship the crew renames Deliverance. Not just any trading ship, Deliverance


At the dawn of the eighteenth century, when girls stay home and sew while men saidl the high seas finding adventure, danger and gold, two unusual girls, Nancy Kington and Minerva Sharpe, one a rich merchant's daughter, the other her plantation slave, set sail from Jamaica on a ship the crew renames Deliverance. Not just any trading ship, Deliverance flies black flags from its mast and proclaims to all that the new ship is a pirate vessel, sriking fear into the hearts of those she approaches. Or so they hope.

For Nancy, Deliverance is her escape from an arranged marriage with a controlling and devlish man. For Minerva, it is escape from slavery, as well as from the fearsome overseer on Nancy's family plantation. But in the end, the money, the adventure, the companionship and the chance to see the world not as women, but as fearsome pirates, is an opportunity neither can deny.

From the award-winning and best-selling author Celia Rees comes a powerful, thrilling and ultimately inspiring journey of two women who break the bonds of gender, race and position to find their own way to glory.

Editorial Reviews

starred review Booklist
« "[Rees ] tells a riveting, full-speed adventure filled with girl-powered action, magic, and love..."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Robust and romantic."
« "[Rees ] tells a riveting, full-speed adventure filled with girl-powered action, magic, and love...
Publishers Weekly
A wealthy young woman escapes an arranged marriage by posing as a pirate. In a starred review, PW wrote, "Fans of Rees's earlier Witch Child will relish this highly romantic cross-dressing romp on the high seas in the early 18th century." Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Nancy Kington is the daughter of a Bristol shipping businessman, a merchant and a man of means. He owns a plantation in Jamaica, a 'factory' for the processing of sugar cane, and a fleet of ships. He buys and sells all sorts of goods from different parts of the world and for many years Nancy has a free and reasonably happy life. Nancy's father also buys and sells humans, slaves from Africa, but this is something his daughter never thought much about until her father dies suddenly. With his death comes financial ruin and great change in Nancy's life. She is sent to Jamaica, to the plantation which is now hers, and suddenly the question of slavery becomes a very real one to this fair-skinned girl from Bristol. Nancy's father not only left the plantation to Nancy, he also left her with a terrible future. Before he died, he promised her in marriage to a frightening and cruel man called Bartholome, a Brazilian plantation owner who lives in Jamaica and who has a shadowy and dark past. One dreadful night Nancy finds herself caught up series of desperate and violent events. Nancy and a slave girl called Minerva decide to flee to the hills; one from a marriage she cannot imagine herself in, and the other from certain death. What follows is the journey that these two girls make, always fleeing from the terrifying Bartholome who seeks them out. They soon find themselves on a pirate ship, "on account," in other words, they become part of the ship's company. Soon Minerva and Nancy are pirates in every way, fighting and eating alongside the men, sharing in the labor and in the winnings. Minerva fits in well with the life at sea, but Nancy feels always that there is something else that she needs to makeher happy. Written with extraordinary insight into the human heart and a through understanding of the times, this book is hard to put down. Fast paced, exciting, and full of unexpected twists and turns in the plot, we are carried forward, hoping that Nancy will find what she is looking for and that she will not have to give up on her dreams. Often brutal, cruel, and harsh, hers was a world where it was easy to get lost in the fight for survival. The author does not gloss over the reality of this world and the facts can often be both shocking and very moving. The misery that slavery caused to hundreds of people cannot be forgotten. 2003, Bloomsbury, Ages 15 up.
— Marya Jansen-Gruber
The author of Witch Child and its sequel Sorceress is a gifted writer of historical fiction for YAs; she is especially good at creating strong, intelligent female characters who escape from the worst woes of their times. This lengthy story begins in Bristol, England, in 1722. Nancy, the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner and trader, is the narrator. When Nancy's father dies, her brothers ship her off to their estates in Jamaica, where she awaits marriage with a wealthy Brazilian. In Jamaica she is horrified by the slavery she sees and befriends two house slaves, Phyllis and her daughter Minerva. It is Minerva who will become an equally important character in this tale; we soon guess Minerva is Nancy's half-sister, and the two are inseparable friends. Nancy meets her intended husband and hates him; Minerva is nearly raped by the brutal overseer; so the two, with Minerva's mother, flee to a settlement of runaway slaves in the highlands of the island. Nancy's presence endangers these hospitable folks because the Brazilian is hunting Nancy down, so she and Minerva choose the only way out; they join a pirate ship and become pirates. Yes, we are talking about guns and swords, knives, jewels, high seas and dangerous people. Nancy and Minerva actually become dangerous people: good fighters, clever in deception. Rees makes this world of pirates absolutely real; and perhaps readers will be seeing the Pirates of the Caribbean movie with Johnny Depp this summer to help them visualize this adventure. Added to the day-by-day dangers in the life of pirates are two main plotlines; Nancy is in love with a young man from Bristol who is in the British Navy hunting down pirates (yes, he captures her;punishment is hanging); and that evil man from Brazil just won't let Nancy go (his ship is also hunting her with determination). Amid the appealing adventures are serious considerations of the plight of slaves and women. Rees is a good researcher who gets the historical details right. KLIATT Codes: JS*; Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Bloomsbury, 321p.,
— Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-This swashbuckling adventure features all of the elements of a grand pirate tale: sword fights, duels, charming rogues, true love, murder, and the odd severed head. Narrator Nancy Kington joins a pirate crew to escape an arranged marriage to a deliciously evil Brazilian, a former pirate himself. She takes along Minerva, a slave who not too surprisingly turns out to be her half sister. The pirates, in one of many happy coincidences, are captained by Mr. Broom, who had already befriended Nancy on an earlier voyage. Quickly adapting to the life, the two young women survive storms, capture, mutiny, and more. This crew manages to steal with little or no bloodshed, except when the victims are clearly villainous themselves. Nancy comes to relish the excitement of sea life, but still hopes to reunite with the young man she loves, who serves with the British Navy. The narration is well paced and engrossing, giving readers a strong feel for the times without bogging down in details. Nancy describes the practice of slavery and the rights of women perceptively, but fairly convincingly for a 1725 character of her background and experience. The first 100 pages are less exciting than the rest of the book, but they set the stage nicely for the involving exploits that follow. The inevitable showdown with the Brazilian provides a satisfying page-turner of a climax. While a few of the supporting characters seem a bit wooden, and some plot twists stretch credulity, this is a rip-roaring adventure with an engaging female heroine.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A rambling, romantic 18th-century tale features a teenaged British heiress who, along with her African half-sister, avoids Terrible Fate by becoming a pirate. In the wake of her father's sudden death, Nancy finds herself hustled from comfortable Bristol to the family's Jamaican sugar plantation, where she forms an alliance with Minerva, a strangely attractive body slave. Following the shocking discovery that her thoroughly vile brothers have sold her to cruel, swarthy ex-buccaneer Bartholome, Nancy stops the plantation's vicious overseer from raping Minerva by blowing out his brains-whereupon both young women don men's clothing and go to sea. Minerva and Nancy both demonstrate facility with fist, blade, and pistol as they survive storms, battle, attempted mutiny, leering suitors, and other hazards-climaxed by a confrontation with Bartholome, who pursues her relentlessly from the Caribbean to Madagascar. Minerva's true identity comes out eventually, and in the end, both she and Nancy acquire suitable mates without losing their yen for adventure. An ambitious but fundamentally conventional tale, closer to Ann Rinaldi's historical novels than the more rousing likes of Avi's True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Edition description:
with Reading Group Guide and Author Inte
Product dimensions:
5.15(w) x 7.87(h) x 1.09(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Celia Rees is the author of many books for young readers including bestseller Witch Child and Sorceress. Her first book was published in 1993, a thriller for teenagers. She now divides her time between writing, talking to readers in schools and libraries, and teaching creative writing. She gets her inspiration from the world around her: newspaper stories, people she meets, places she visits. Celia lives in Leamington Spa, England with her husband and teenage daughter, Catrin.

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Pirates! 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 152 reviews.
CCR More than 1 year ago
Okay, so if you are a Pirates of the Carribean fan, read this book! Even if pirate stuff really isnt your thing, read this book! I loved it! The adventure was never ending, the characters captured my every intrest, and when I was done, I wanted more! There was romance, fighting, thrills, and all sorts of other things! Although the ending didn't turn out how I wanted, I understood that sometimes it's easy to wonder what happen than let the author tell you! This book also teaches you a lot about that time in history. It was beyond interesting, and the way it was written was wonderful. I hope this author writes more because the story was unforgettable and I want more! I recommend this to anyone who needs a good read with adventure and surprises around every corner!
Christine Jordan More than 1 year ago
Poor research (ex. cockatoos are not native to the americas to be darting through the trees) and basic grammer and spelling errors hold this fun and lighthearted novel down. Even still it is an enjoyable read that is perfect when you want a novel to just pass the time (plane/car trips ect.)
Isabella Pioli More than 1 year ago
Good plot but there are a lot of errors that should have been edited.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story, thought I could tell what the ending would be but got a surprise. I love this author's style. The main characters showed courage and perserverance. Inspiring. Great story for the female gender.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the few YA novels I found that I can teach without worry. Great themes, characters, plot, etc. Safe in terms of topic- no sex, language, drugs, incest, family death,- not your typical YA. My students love it- female pirates- what more could you ask for?!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Poor writing leads to lackluster action in this pirate tale. The plot has a lot of potential, but the writer uses a rather flat, passive voice in narrating it. Most of the action and romance scenes are told in a vague, offhand, emotionless way. For instance, after Nancy, the main character, becomes a pirate, we are not given much of an action scene. Just, 'We leaped the gap between the ships together, ready to fight and die for each other, but the fight was soon over. We had barely engaged, when the company surrendered to a man.' That's the big action scene. Much of the novel is written that way. When Nancy finally meets up with her lost love, the scene if flat and devoid of emotion. I found this pirate tale to be long, drawn out, and emotionally flat. The author needs to learn to write with an active voice, rather than a passive one.
booknerd213 More than 1 year ago
Ive read it before and i still love all the adventure,how its from a different time and the danger at times and how she always thinks of will!!!!!!! they are also just so brave!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first time I read this book I was 13. I am now 22 and still in love with it. Anytime I watch a pirate movie I am instantly drawn back to this novel. I highly suggest you read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My fav book
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SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Remembered reading the Blood Jack series and heard about this. Had read it and thought while good, was also okay or so I recall. Been a long time since I read this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of thoes books with a well worn spine. Some parts are a bit ummm rated pg13but besides that it is grear!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book. I enjoyed every minute of it. Some parts where stupid however.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my favorites of all time. It has a great storyline, fantastic characters and you won't want to put it down! Do yourself a favor and read it!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I greatly enjoyed the plot, the grammar is this story is terrible. Wwords are constantly misspelled....i.e. fie = he in the book. Letters and numbers are constantly mixed up. If you can't stand bad grammar, don't even bother here. If you can, the plot is pretty good.