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Monday, April 25, 2011

Pirates! 10 Pirate-Filled Fantasy & Science Fiction Ebooks

In the realms of science fiction and fantasy, pirates are always making appearances. And why not? They're a sure sign that adventure will abound. The following F/SF ebooks all feature pirates, either as heroes or dastardly villains out to make life miserable for the main characters. Some and from independent authors, and can be purchased for a couple of dollars, while others are from mainstream presses.

I've included pirates from both science fiction and fantasy realms, and there are a couple of children's and YA stories as well.

Jesamiah Acorne, Captain of the Sea Witch, has received a pardon for his crimes of piracy; but is still unable to free his love Tiola Oldstagh from her unhappy marriage to Stefan van Overstratten. As a white witch Tiola has the means of saving herself but refuses to use her Craft, so Jesamiah must think of a brave solution. War is again looming between England and Spain. The Admiralty in London is desperate for intelligence reports but their spy has failed to return from the Spanish-held territory of Hispaniola. For Jesamiah to free Tiola from the clutches of her legal husband, he must undertake to find out why - a task that will not be easy, for Jesamiah is half Spanish and the Spaniards most desperately want to hang him. Political intrigue, battles at sea, piracy and romance. A white witch, a charming rogue of a pirate and a spy who turns out to be a woman intent on seducing Jesamiah, all mixed together with an element of supernatural fantasy.

Enjoy this science fiction adventure as a young ice miner encounters a sinister gang of pirates. The space miner and his friends face mystery and hardship as they travel from the frozen moons of Jupiter to the new settlements on Mars. Josh "Armadillo" Barker and his friends are the new pioneers in the earliest days of exploration and settlement of our solar system's planets and moons. They prove to be brave, hard-working and inventive - but can they defeat the mysterious Mr. Hightower and his men? 

British newcomer Abercrombie fills his muddled sword-and-sorcery series opener with black humor and reluctant heroes. Logen Ninefingers, a barbarian on the run from an ex-employer who's now king of the North, finds his loyalties complicated when he switches sides and becomes a valuable source of intel to the beleaguered Union. Glokta, a torture victim turned torturer, gets roped into securing the Union's position against both the invading Northmen and the incompetent Union king and council, and ruthlessly wields his skills in attempts to weed out traitors. Foppish Jezal, a preternaturally excellent swordsman, manages to win the contest to become the Union champion, thanks to a little help from Bayaz, a mage with his own agenda. 

Grade 6-9–Fourteen-year-old Jolly is a polliwog. She can literally walk on water. Raised by a pirate captain, she loves her life until Bannon and his crew are betrayed and only Jolly escapes. She is washed up on a tiny island, discovered by Munk (another polliwog), and quickly drawn into the plans of the mysterious Ghost Trader, who insists that the very existence of the world is threatened by the imminent return of the Maelstrom. Somehow, the polliwogs hold the secret to defeating the ancient malevolent force, even if they are only teens. As he demonstrated in The Water Mirror (S & S, 2005), Meyer is an expert at creating fantastical worlds filled with unusual and exotic elements. He vividly renders a richly imagined world filled with thieving pirates, lovely ladies, and strange magical creatures.

For Princess Miya Black, 'home' is Clover Island, a tiny dot of a place not even named on most maps. Founded fifteen years ago by her parents, ex-pirate Tomas "Boots" Black and ex-princess Lilith "Lily" Brightburn, it's a place for second chances and new beginnings. It's there that Miya was born, there she grew up, and there she now lives, spending her days riding with her best friend, practising swordsmanship with her fake uncle, sailing with her father, and avoiding book lessons with her mother. To Miya it's the best place in the entire world, and she knows how lucky she is to have it.

So when her home is threatened Miya doesn't just sit around sulking. She's the princess of Clover Island, with the blood of pirate legends running through her veins, and she'll do whatever it takes to protect her kingdom.

Grade 5–8—This installment in the series finds 12-year-old Nick once again saving the world on several fronts. It's 1939, and he must defend his home, a small British island, against the looming Nazi invasion. But the Nazis are not his only enemies; using a time-travel device invented by da Vinci, he also battles 18th-century pirates who've kidnapped his sister. In a further wrinkle, the pirates, who are equipped with a time-travel device of their own, threaten to change the outcome of the American Revolution. Nick feels compelled to help General Washington and his troops, even though doing so makes him a traitor, because he knows that the support of the United States will become crucial to the Allies in World War II. Swashbuckling action sequences and scenes of derring-do abound. However, hackneyed language detracts from the action, and clich├ęd stereotypes of Native Americans and African-American slaves make this title seem out of place in contemporary children's literature.

Billy Marshal and his friend Figgy Newton have grown up around treasure-hunters. Every summer, the search for the treasure of Pirate's Pit begins again in Clark's Cove. Not wishing to be outdone by the tourists, Billy and Figgy are determined to be the first to find the treasure. So far, however, they've had no luck finding even one gold piece.

But Billy and Figgy won't give up - they've caught pirate fever. After discovering a mysterious letter that leads them to a time machine, Billy and Figgy are transported back to the 18th century where they learn the dangerous secrets of the Treasure of Pirate's Pit! Can Billy and Figgy find the treasure and return to the present - or will they be stuck on a pirate's ship forever? 

In this stand-alone novel set in the same monster-haunted universe as last year's much-praised Perdido Street Station, British author Mieville, one of the most talented new writers in the field, takes us on a gripping hunt to capture a magical sea-creature so large that it could snack on Moby Dick, and that's just for starters. Armada, a floating city made up of the hulls of thousands of captured vessels, travels slowly across the world of Bas-Lag, sending out its pirate ships to prey on the unwary, gradually assembling the supplies and captive personnel it needs to create a stupendous work of dark magic. Bellis Coldwine, an embittered, lonely woman, exiled from the great city of New Crobuzon, is merely one of a host of people accidentally trapped in Armada's far-flung net, but she soon finds herself playing a vital role in the byzantine plans of the city's half-mad rulers. 

The author creates a marvelously detailed floating civilization filled with dark, eccentric characters worthy of Mervyn Peake or Charles Dickens, including the aptly named Coldwine, a translator who has devoted much of her life to dead languages; Uther Doul, the superhuman soldier/scholar who refuses to do anything more than follow orders; and Silas Fennec, the secret agent whose perverse magic has made him something more and less than human. Together they sail through treacherous, magic-ridden seas, on a quest for the Scar, a place where reality mutates and all things become possible. 

The untimely death of Old Trader Ephron Vestrit deprives his daughter Althea of her inheritance and places her ambitious brother-in-law Kyle in command of the live ship Viveca and the family fortunes. The author of the Farseer trilogy (Assassin's Apprentice, LJ 3/15/95; Royal Assassin, Bantam, 1996; Assassin's Quest, Bantam, 1997) launches a new series set in a world of sentient ships, merchant traders, ruthless pirates, dangerous treasures, seagoing dragons, and a mysterious elder race. Hobb excels in depicting complex characters; even her villains command respect, if not sympathy, for their actions.

The Pirates of Sufiro is the story of a planet and its people--of Ellison Firebrandt, the pirate captain living in exile; of Espedie Raton, the con-man looking to make a fresh start for himself and his wife on a new world; of Peter Stone, the ruthless bank executive who discovers a fortune and will do anything to keep it; and of the lawman, Edmund Ray Swan who travels to Sufiro seeking the quiet life but finds a dark secret. It is the story of privateers, farmers, miners, entrepreneurs, and soldiers--all caught up in dramatic events and violent conflicts that will shape the destiny of our galaxy.


  1. I love pirates they are so fun to watch and they have such a great personality. The books look interesting and fun to read.

  2. Ha, a great collection of motley scalawags! Ship of Magic is very, very good. I'll have to check out some of the others.