The Pyrates

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The Pyrates
AuthorGeorge MacDonald Fraser
CountryUnited Kingdom
Publication date

The Pyrates is a comic novel by George MacDonald Fraser, published in 1983. Fraser called it "a burlesque fantasy on every swashbuckler I ever read or saw".[1]


Written in arch, ironic style and containing a great deal of deliberate anachronism, it traces the adventures of a classic hero (Captain Benjamin Avery, RN, very loosely based on Henry Avery), multiple damsels in distress, and the six captains who lead the infamous Coast Brotherhood (Calico Jack Rackham, Black Bilbo, Firebeard, Happy Dan Pew, Akbar the Terrible and Sheba the She-Wolf). It also concerns the charismatic anti-hero, Colonel Thomas Blood (cashiered), a rakish dastard who is loosely modeled on the historical figure, Thomas Blood. All of the above face off against the malevolently hilarious Spanish viceroy of Cartagena, Don Lardo. The book's 400 pages of continuous action travel from England to Madagascar to various Caribbean ports of call along the Spanish Main.


The book is completely unrelated to the 1991 movie Pyrates starring Kevin Bacon.

1986 TV version[edit]

The Pyrates
Directed byAndrew Gosling
Produced byIan Keill
Written byMervyn Haisman
Based onthe novel by George MacDonald Fraser
Music byRodney Newton
CinematographyDerek Slee
Edited byDave Hambelton
Canamedia Productions
Distributed byBBC Two
Release date
21 December 1986
CountryUnited Kingdom

A television adaptation starring Marcus Gilbert and Jane Snowden was shown on BBC2 on 28 December 1986.[2]

The film was one of a number made by the team of Andrew Gosling and Ian Keill.[3]


Stage version[edit]

A world premiere stage adaptation was written and produced by members of Chicago's Defiant Theatre in 2004.[4]

Captain in Calico[edit]

Much of the material had been covered in a novel Fraser wrote in 1959, Captain in Calico. This novel was published after his death.


  1. ^ Fraser, George MacDonald (2002). The Light's On at Signpost. HarperCollins. p. 311.
  2. ^ "BBC 1". The Times. 27 December 1986. p. 41.
  3. ^ Keill, Ian (1 June 2016). "Andrew Gosling obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  4. ^ Michael Phillips, T., "Timing and finesse arrr off in 'Pyrates'", Chicago Tribune, June 30, 2004.

External links[edit]