Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Pyrates: A Swashbuckling Comic Novel by the Creator of Flashman

The Pyrates: A Swashbuckling Comic Novel by the Creator of FlashmanThe Pyrates: A Swashbuckling Comic Novel by the Creator of Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought I'd paste in my Dangerous Dan review for this one. We'll see if it gets the appreciation the one for The Gun Fight got.

Dangerous Dan here, back to push you toward stories while he drinks a PBR and pretends to care about things other than women and alcohol.

One of Dangerous Dan's favorite movies as a young lad living in the back room of a whore house was The Princess Bride. When I finally learned how to read (it was before I shaved the first time but not much), I read the book and wanted more. Unfortunately, old Bill Goldman never wrote a sequel. Well, today I'll review the next best thing.

George MacDonald Fraser is best known as the writer of the Flashman Chronicles, a series of books about a rogue named Flashman who blunders his way into taking credit for all kinds of heroic deeds throughout history. In The Pyrates, Fraser takes uses the ability to make complete bastards likeable that he honed in the Flashman series to new heights.

The Pyrates features everything you like about pirate stories. It has a noble hero, a rogue you're not quite sure about, a buxom damsel in distress, vile villains, and a femme fatale that's even hotter than the heroine. Dangerous Dan's pants were definitely snug during some parts of the book.

The plot of The Pyrates is as follows. Captain Ben Avery is escorting the British crown on a sea voyage, along with Admiral Rook and his daughter Vanity. Vanity's the hot girl of the story. The ship is attacked, Vanity is kidnapped, and Avery is stranded on a sandbar. Enter Colonel Blood, the rogue of the piece and Dangerous Dan's kind of guy. He's a liar, womanizer, and cheat, and also quite handy with the sword. Avery's kind of naïve and stupid and a perfect ally for Colonel Blood. On the side of the villains are Don Lardo, a huge fat guy that's trying to steal the british crown, and his henchwoman, the lovely Sheba. She's like Catwoman to Avery's caped crusader and has provided Dangerous Dan with some interesting fantasies during dry spells.

Anyway, Colonel Blood is continually caught between wanting to do the right thing, wanting to get some from Vanity while she thinks Avery is dead, and wanting the crown jewels for himself. Like I said, Dangerous Dan's kind of guy except that he didn't take advantage of Vanity while she was asleep.

Aside from the dialogue and the sight gags, one of the funniest thing about The Pyrates are all the sly references to modern culture, again, just like the Princess Bride.

The writing is snappy and the dialogue is clever, much like that of the Princess Bride. If you liked the Princess Bride, you'll like this. If you didn't, Dangerous Dan is coming to your house in the dead of night with a roll of duct tape, a jar of Vaseline, and three large cucumbers.

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