The Pirates! In an Adventure with Napoleon

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2010-07-13
  • Publisher: Vintage
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The Pirate Captain and his merry band of ne'er-do-wells face off against their toughestbut by no means their tallestchallenge yet. Crushed with disappointment at the Pirate of the Year Awards, our Pirate Captain decides that it's time for a career change. And so with his loyal (if soon-to-be-dismayed) crew, he sets off for St. Helena, a bleak speck of an Atlantic island a thousand miles from anywhere. But the Captain's plan for a quiet island life of beekeeping (yes, beekeeping) is interrupted by the arrival of a new "visitor" to the islandthe recently deposed Napoleon Bonaparte. Will the island's twenty-eight-mile circumference be big enough to contain two of history's greatest egos? Has the Pirate Captain finally met his match? And, lest we forget the most important question: which of them has the best hat? The Pirates! In an Adventure with Napoleonis a swashbuckling tale of lavish tea parties, planning regulations, educational museum exhibits, and naked political ambition. Andunlike all of its thrilling predecessorsthere is not much ham involved. From the Hardcover edition.

Author Biography

GIDEON DEFOE is the author of The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists; The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab; and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists. You could be forgiven for thinking that he is a bit of a one-trick pony. He lives in London.

From the Hardcover edition.



‘The best thing about the seaside,’ said the albino pirate, ‘is putting seaweed on your head and pretending you’re a lady.’

‘That’s rubbish!’ said the pirate with gout. ‘The best thing about the seaside is building sexy but intelligent looking mermaids out of sand.’

The rest of the pirates, sprawled out on the deck of the pirate boat for their afternoon nap, soon joined in.

‘It’s the rock pools!’

‘It’s the saucy postcards!’

‘It’s the creeping sense of despair!’

Pretty soon the crew were a tangle of earrings and teeth and cutlasses. Buckles rattled, blades swished and bits of pirate went everywhere. But before they could really get going the doors to the downstairs of the pirate boat crashed open, and out strode the Pirate Captain himself. If you were to compare the Pirate Captain to a type of sedimentary rock – which after types of tree, creatures, and fonts was the next most popular thing for the pirates to compare stuff to – he would undoubtedly be a slab of polished sandstone, or maybe chert. The pirates all took one look at the Captain and stopped their argument dead in its tracks. Fists froze in mid-swing, and mouths hung agape. The Pirate Captain often had this effect on the crew, but usually it was because they held him in such high regard or because they were dazzled by his fantastically glossy and luxuriant beard. Today though, their sudden speechlessness had more to do with the fact that the Pirate Captain was wearing only a tiny bright-red swimming costume which left nothing
to the imagination.

‘What’s all the racket about, you briney swabs?’ bellowed the Pirate Captain, his skin glistening in the sunlight with a strangely oily sheen.

‘Sorry, Captain,’ said the albino pirate. ‘We were just discussing what the best thing about the seaside is.’

‘The best thing about the seaside?’

‘Yes, sir. We couldn’t quite decide.’

The pirates waited expectantly for their Captain’s response, and tried not to notice the fit of his trunks.

‘Honestly,’ said the Pirate Captain, after a pregnant pause. ‘I have no idea. What a ridiculous thing to be arguing about.’

And with that the Pirate Captain spun on a shiny heel, and strode back through the heavy wooden doors that led to the inside of the boat. There was an awkward silence as the pirate crew all stared at each other, at a bit of a loss. Pirate feet were shuffled. The pirate in green looked like he was about to say something and then stopped himself. Somewhere, a sea-lion barked.

Back downstairs in his office the Pirate Captain stood in front of his full-length mirror, scooped a handful of margarine from a little tub and lathered it thoughtfully into his torso. The office was its usual mess of sextants and astrolabes and half-smoked cigars. On one wall there hung a trophy cabinet that showcased the Captain’s awards from previous adventures. There was a faded rosette labelled ‘Junior Swashbuckler, Obstacle Race – Bronze’, and next to that there was a small cup engraved with ‘Pirate Captain, Best Nautical Oaths, Runner Up’. And the only other item was a pom-pom with a pair of
googly eyes that was attached to a short piece of ribbon revealing it to be an award for ‘Second Most Entertaining Anecdote About A Monstrous Manatee’. The Pirate Captain had just started to gaze a bit sadly at the empty space right in the middle of the cabinet when there was a knock at the door, and so he quickly looked back at his mirror and tried to adopt a businesslike air. The Captain’s loyal deputy, the pirate with a scarf, poked his head into the cabin.

‘Hello, Pirate Capta

Excerpted from The Pirates! in an Adventure with Napoleon by Gideon Defoe
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