Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Enjoy a good story of Pirates & Scoundrels?

Oh yes I surely do.
Many Historical Stories of Adventure and fortune contain these dastardly fiends. And grateful I am, that most of those tales can be found inside the covers of a Romance Novel.
 As I'm reading these Fictional stories, I learn about the character's past, like where they came from & how they became a pirate in the first place. Or perhaps the hero is the sailor who had no other choice or kinda *fell into the position* and he ends up sailing with a well-meaning (of course) captain. Yeah right!

Now, we all know that in most Romantic Novels (the ones I read - anyway), the hero (on the whole) is supposed to be a well meaning and gentlemanly fellow who would never intentionally harm or abuse our heroine OR other women for that matter, after all romance heroes have a reputation to uphold or else we wouldn't care what happens to him & like the heroine, we wouldn't fall in love with them - would we?
And seeing authors want us to love their Hero Pirate it intrigues me to ask -  Were there any nice pirates in reality?
Did they turn out to be the hero, the one who turned from bad to good, who saved the girl from unscrupulous cretins, rogues and other unspeakable dangers?

I read an interesting post recently on the English History Authors Blogspot by Nick Smith about Pirates, Buccaneers & privateers.   2014/06/buccaneers-how-they-changed-world 
Aruj, or Oruç, Reis was
a Turkish privateer and later
Admiral in Ottoman service
who became known as
Barbarossa – or Redbeard
– amongst Christians.
This post does a brilliant job at differentiating between the titles.
Thank you Nick for sharing your knowledge.

From years of personal research, I have found the real truth is *Pirates were not very nice at all*. Most of them (sadly) were indeed, murderers, scoundrels, rapists and thieves, just as we are led to believe. I mean a lot didn't set out to turn to a life of piracy, but circumstances (greed and riches) led them to it. And once they embraced the life style there was no turning back. Also (in my opinion), they were not that handsome either. Not like we romanticize about or are made to believe in the Romance novels of today. stories. The characters played by Errol Flynn and Johnny Depp, were few and far between. If they existed at all.

Sir Francis Verney was
  one of the most feared
Barbary corsairs during
 the early 17th century.
Therefore it it fairly safe to believe that when a writer makes a pirate the hero in a story, no matter how credible, polite, and chivalrous the acts he commits or attempt to carry out, just so we can believe them monsters of a sort, it is all the creative imagination of the author. It's all fictional. Because the real deal was never that romantic or painless.

Piracy doesn't lay claim to the modern world either. Dionysius the Phocaean from Greece  was an active pirate around 494 BC.  He was the oldest listed one I could find, but perhaps others existed even before then if their history was recorded somewhere. And Piracy didn't/doesn't discriminate. It seems there were famous pirates terrorising the high seas from all cultures across the known world. Wherever there were waters to sail, lands to conquer, treasures and adventure to be had, they were there.

Thank you to all the Historical authors who chose to include a pirate or two or 102, in your stories.
I have read 100's of Historical novels that had at least one pirate in it, and enjoyed each hero despite the gruesome reality of History. I'm pleased that poetic licence gives us writers the ability to turn monsters into puppy dogs and lions into kittens all for the sake of Love, as well as a story with a HEA.