Friday, 23 July 2010

Pirates by Celia Rees

Pirates is a fantastic book by the excellent author, Celia Rees. Full of action, suspense and finding your true love, this an excellent book for girls and boys from about the age 10-11 plus.

This book is about two characters, Nancy Kington, a merchant’s daughter and Minerva Sharpe,a slave.This novel is set in 1724, when pirates and slavery were both common. Nancy had always lived in Bristol, England, and when the book is set she was nearly sixteen. She was secretly promised to a young man called William who worked in the Navy. Meanwhile, at the plantation in Jamaica, Minerva, was living a harsh life as a slave.

One day Nancy’s father (who owned a slave plantation in Jamaica) died leaving Nancy’s future in charge of her older brothers. Nancy soon found herself on one of her father’s ships, bound for Jamaica. On the journey she made some friends with the first mate, Broom, and the ship’s surgeon, Graham. When she finally gets to Jamaica she is sad to leave them but will she ever see them again?

When Nancy got to her father’s plantation, she realised how horrific the conditions the slaves lived in and how they were forced to work or they would get severe punishments. Then she discovers something a lot worse in her opinion at least, her father had left the plantation to her, meaning that the slaves belonged to her and they were all branded with her initials.

Then, Nancy met a slave of about her age - Minerva- and her mother - Phyllis -, who are her personal slaves. They were meant to help her get dressed, make her meals and so on. However, Nancy didn’t believe in slavery so she did everything with Minerva and Phyllis as if they weren’t slaves. The three of them carried on this way until Nancy’s elder brother informs her that she must stop that "behavouir" or there would be bad circumstances for her, Minerva and Phyllis.

On her sixteenth birthday Nancy had to go and visit a man that her brothers and father decided she should marry, a horrible Brazilian man called Bartholome. He gave Nancy a ruby chocker and earrings, that look as if someone has cut her neck and she is bleeding and the earrings look like drops of blood, Phyllis urges her to get rid of them as they are evil and having dark and evil spirits in them, but Nancy secretly keeps them.

Then Nancy has a crime on her hands so she, Minerva, Phyllis and another slave called Thomas, run away to join the maroons (run-away slaves). They live there until one day the pirates come to trade, led by Broom (the first mate of the ship Nancy came on). Broom became a pirate when his ship got captured by them and he joined them eventually becoming captain. Broom, being a just pirate agreed to let Minerva and Nancy join his crew dressed as men as long as the rest of the men agree. So, Nancy and Minerva live the life of piracy befriending the other pirates and going on many adventures.

Can they find their true loves and not be captured by the law? Read this amazing book to find out. I give it 10 out of 10.


  1. Ok, another one of your books that I need to pinch! Do you think you should start lending some to the library????? M x

  2. Gosh! 10 out of 10... it must be good!

  3. This sounds good, am thinking of tracking it down for myself, I am a little more than 10 - 11 'plus' than maybe you were thinking!