There is nothing so wicked as little girls, they play at raiders, bloodthirsty vikings and ninjas…at least from what I’ve seen. When I was younger I poured into books featuring lady warriors, be they queens or knights. Jane Yolen was one of these authors. Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World is delightful book for young readers to learn more about piracy, as well as historical and legendary female figures. Christine Joy Pratt’s accompanying illustrations are a charming addition that enhances the stories. The selection is mostly Eurocentric, I would have liked to see a more true international selection, but they were the most well documented.
The drama of these pirates’ lives are given to show their cleverness and bravery. Within these pages are the likes of Persia’s admiral-queen Artemisia, Jeanne de Belville: The Lioness of Brittany, Rachel Wall who was the last woman to be hanged for piracy, and fleet commander Madame Ching. Each story is an inspiration, for whether they are nobles or commoners, these bold women were powerful in their own right. Sea Queens does not blindly glorify the pirates, there is recognition of moral reprehensibility. They are bad girls who pillaged and murdered, they betrayed their lovers and sank ships on their grand adventures.
Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World is available now.