Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists - Gideon Defoe

This is the third Pirates! book by Defoe (his real name, apparently), and takes much the same track as their previous adventures with Scientists and Whaling. The Pirate Captain is in need of a new coat, so along with his piratey crew (the pirate with a scarf, the pirate in red, the pirate with a hook for a hand etc) he heads to his favourite tailors in London. Following a case of mistaken identity, he gets mixed up with Marx and Engels, and has to flee to Paris to thwart an evil plot to discredit communism...

"Hello, Comrades," said Engels.
"Hello, Engels," said the communists.
"Any capitalist spies in tonight?"
A few men with stuck-on beards waved.
"Would you mind leaving?" asked Engels politely. "We've nothing to hide, it's just that there aren't enough chairs and some real communists are having to stand at the back. Thanks."
The spies left cheerfully, and Engels pressed on.

Yeah, it's extremely silly, but that's rather the point. The humour is a bit hit-and-miss but it's so much fun to read that the misses don't really matter, and besides, it's hard to go wrong with pirates. The chapters all have wonderfully piratical titles that bear no relation to the story ("Nightmare on Shark Mountain!" "Eel Stampede!"), and the Pirate Captain's attempts at social philosophy are a joy to behold; Defoe even manages to slip in a sneaky pop at the Daily Mail. It's probably not quite as good as the first book in the series, but, if you like pirates (and who doesn't?) it's still very much worth a read.



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