The King of Pirates, Paperback

The King of Pirates Paperback

Part of the Hesperus Classics series

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Following the success of Robinson Crusoe, Defoe composed a further tale of high adventure at sea.

The result was the lesser-known The King of Pirates, an inspired and hugely enjoyable 'first-hand' account of pirate living.

In response to an alleged letter accusing him of the worst possible deeds, Captain Avery pens a reply seeking to exonerate himself from all such charges.

He sees fit to provide a full account of life as captain of a pirate ship.

Yet far from being the archetypal, murderous villain, his letters reveal him simply to be a very lovable rogue - albeit one with something of a penchant for fine jewels.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Hesperus Press Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9781843910114



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The King of Pirates is fiction, although it does not seem so because of its epistolary nature.   It is comprised of two "letters" written by one Captain Avery, who wants to set his record as a pirate straight for the sake of history.  He finds himself the subject of a book and is concerned that his exploits have been blown out of proportion.  His response, then, are these letters which are his own account of his years of piracy."You may be sure I received with resentment enough the account that a most ridiculous book, entitled My Life and Adventures, had been published in England, being fully assured nothing of truth could be contained in such a work.  And though it may be true that my extravagant story may be the proper foundation of a romance, yet as no man has a title to publish it better than I have to expose and contradict it, I send you this by one of my particular friends, who having an opportunity of returning into England has promised to convey it faithfully to  you, by which, at least, two things shall be made good to the world.  First, that they shall be satisfied in the scandalous and unjust manner in which others have already treated me; and it shall give, in the meantime, a larger account of what may at present be fit to be made public of my unhappy though successful adventures." (pg. 7)Captain Avery proceeds to tell about his journeys and adventures.  Readers are treated to an account of locations the world over, from South America to Madagascar to "Bassora" (today,  Basra in Iraq).  It is the equivalent of an 18th century travelogue.  Exploits are recounted, as he tells in great detail the various amounts of treasure and goods they plunder from other ships and how and where they bury the treasure.  One episode of which the Captain particularly wishes to rectify is his capturing the ship carrying the granddaughter of "the Great Mogul" as she is headed to Burma to be married.  Unlike the version of events claimed by others , the Captain treats her with respect, only taking all her goods,valuables, and her ship before releasing her.What an interesting account this is, this behind-the-scenes look at a pirate Captain and his crew.  It is also a unique journey around a world long gone.  Hesperus Press is to be commended for keeping this  literature alive and well in the hands of today's readers.

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