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The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook by Jason Heller

By way of some sort of explanation – In an effort to expand the my reading horizons I’ve decided that it was high time read something that was not a novel. Quirk Books very kindly provided what I think is some sort of self help/how to guide? The results, I think, speak for themselves….

Pirates, by nature, aren’t terribly literate. As a consequence, no book can hope to fully prepare the pampered, modern-day layabout for the lusty life of a pirate.

This book,however, will put you on the right path – the path to adeventure, treasure, glory, mystery, and, every so often, the bottom of a barrel of rum.

Avast me hearties, tis I – Captain Pablo Cheesecake on the good ship The Eloquent Page. Being as I am the very definition of a modern-day layabout I knew that this book would assist in answering all my pirate related questions.

At may surprise all of ye unworthy swabs but since I was knee-high to a Jolly Roger I have always been a fan of all things piratical. I still remember fondly the first time I marveled at Burt Lancaster swashing his buckle in The Crimson Pirate. Since that day, I have always daydreamed about travelling the ocean blue, meeting lots of interesting types of people and purloining their booty. With these wistful thoughts in the forefront of my mind, I dived in with gusto.

Like any good aspiring corsair I felt there were basic things that I needed to know. Just exactly how do you best defeat a sea monster? How does one fight a tavern full of angry men? Where is the best place to hide treasure? What are the most effective pirate insults? The good news is that this book delivers all these answers and more.

This small but perfectly formed handbook, is an insightful mix of useful hints and tips as well as fun pirate facts. For example, any would-be buccaneer needs to know all the important parts of a galleon. I’m pleased to report I can now distinguish my forestop from my foresail.

The book also looks the part. There are some suitably rough and ready illustrations as well as some great photographs. Oddly though, most of them seem to feature some scurvy knave that goes by the name of Captain Jack Sparrow?

If I could change anything I think I would have preferred a bit more history. Thought there is some present, more detail about the real life terrors of the Caribbean would have been a welcome inclusion.

This tome details everything that a young, or indeed young at heart, pirate-in-training could every need to know about a life on the ocean waves. I am sure any self respecting pirate fan would welcome this addition to their library. Now that I have all the knowledge needed to succeed in my chosen profession I’m off to plunder the seven seas!

As an aside Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is on general release on 18th May.


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