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Hunting Pirate Heaven


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About the Author

Kevin Rushby has lived and worked in Sudan, Malaysia, Thailand and Yemen. He is a full-time writer and author of four previous books: Chasing the Mountain of Light, Eating the Flowers of Paradise, Children of Kali and Hunting Pirate Heaven.


As difficult as it is to make a good pirate movie, it's almost as hard to write a good nonfiction book about pirates. Rushby (Children of Kali; Eating the Flowers of Paradise; etc.) has overcome the obstacle most writers on the subject come up against (i.e., the impossible task of separating a few hard grains of truth from the clouds of fantasy and wish-fulfillment that have always surrounded the subject) by simply venturing to the places pirates used to call home and looking around. A rough-and-tumble adventurer who's more than willing to poke fun at his na?vet? and inexperience (despite the long list of adventure travel books to his credit), Rushby journeys to the islands around East Africa and Madagascar in search of the old pirate redoubts once hidden there. He follows pirate legends via a mix-and-match collection of hitched rides and lucky encounters, reveling in the loopy nature of the area's Arab, Indian, French and African cultural cross-pollination. Rushby is affable even in the worst circumstances, which serves him well when he's going clubbing in a dangerous part of Mozambique with a former gunrunner, almost getting marooned by a vengeful Scandinavian or losing his passport on the war-torn isle of Anjouan. The journey is more interesting than the destination, as Rushby doesn't find many pirate remains at all: rumors, some ruins and lots of stories. However, Rushby does present an enthralling guide to a little-visited corner of the world, haunted by the ghosts of its pirate past. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

'Frequently hilarious and always entertaining... teeming with the joy of travel and brimming with literary elan.'- Spectator; 'Pirates have provided material for writers for so long that one hardly thinks there could be any literary treasure left, but here is a book that proves otherwise.'- Guardian; 'in this delicious book... the cast of colourful characters is excellently drawn'- Sunday Times

Few can resist a good pirate story, but as Rushby discovers, distinguishing rumor from fact is quite difficult. Armed with a good sense of humor and adventure, the seasoned travel writer (e.g., Children of Kali) hitches rides up the African coast and to the islands of Comoros and Madagascar, areas where legendary pirates were rumored to have settled. Rushby is searching for evidence and descendants of "primitive pirate democracies" in tropical paradise hideaways, but he finds nothing to confirm their existence. All is not lost, however. Rushby offers wonderful stories interlaced with history and a glimpse of African villages steeped in history and beauty. He cannot find evidence that Blackbeard and his contemporaries found paradise, but he can bring to life the African locales that have fascinated us all for centuries. Recommended for public libraries.-Mari Flynn, Glendale Community Coll., AZ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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