I never thought I’d say this, but I’m getting heartily sick of pirates.
Not my pirates, mind you.
But if I see another “True Story of Blackbeard” documentary or another dull buccaneers book, I’ll make someone walk the plank. Everywhere I look there are pirates. Cliched pirates in red coats and back hats. Grinning pirates. Caribbean pirates.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not the pirates’ fault. And I’m sure it’s good for book sales, even if it’s all a marvellous coincidence – although it does mean there are an awful lot of pirate books about.
But really. These people were horrible. They were truly amongst the most appalling creatures ever to sail the seas. Colourful, yes. But revolting. And all they did was sail about the tropics (hardly a chore, except during a hurricane) and blow one another up.
Give me the Mediterranean any day.
I haven’t gone off the nautical life altogether – far from it. I’m having a bachelor’s weekend, and recovering from flu, so on Friday I watched two episodes of Hornblower on DVD and then got so interested I sat on the couch all day yesterday and read three Hornblower books one after another. Endlessly fascinating, even on the second, or third, or perhaps it’s fifth reading. Even when he ventures near the Caribbean.
Here you have the great powers of Europe in turmoil, shifting and changing. The early books (and indeed my books) are set against one of most interesting periods of history, when the world seemed to be changing shape before people’s eyes. Revolution, republicanism, feminism, nationalism; the clear flame of Enlightenment giving way to the dash and drama of Romanticism; astonishing men and women and one man – Bonaparte – like no other; great empires like Spain, Holland and Portugal crumbling; Britain ruling the waves and much of the planet; France ruling Europe and on the road to Moscow; mass emigration to upstart colonies like America; the great Rebellion in Ireland; new plants, new ideas, new worlds. Intrigue, espionage, great battles. Honour, duty, drama.
All much more interesting than a pack of drunken retrobates with bad teeth and no dress sense.
Anyway, speaking of pirates, today I’m proof-reading the galleys of Swashbuckler book 2, before it goes off to the printer – this week we got final artwork for books 2 & 3 covers, and gorgeous things they are too.
I just hope everyone else doesn’t get sick of pirates in the meantime.
(I haven’t yet seen the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, as I’m saving it to watch with my nephew in Melbourne next week. I will make an exception for that.)