cover image Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

Robert Kurson. Random, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6336-9

The odds of finding a bona fide pirate ship are quite rare, a fact Robert Kurson (Shadow Divers) points out in the first few pages of this extraordinary adventure. Only one—the Whydah—has ever been positively identified as belonging to pirates. The subjects of Kurson’s latest, John Chatterton and John Mattera, are undeterred by such unlikelihood in their conquest to locate the elusive Golden Fleece, the 17th-century ship captained by Joseph Bannister, lost somewhere in the waters near the Dominican Republic. Kurson takes readers on a wild ride alongside these bigger-than-life pirate hunters as they navigate the red tape of maritime code, dead ends, and dwindling resources, as well as rival hunters keen on beating Chatterton and Mattera to the prize. Though this drama would be more than enough, Kurson also examines the many myths surrounding pirates in their golden age, some of which were true (they did keep parrots and used colorful language, but they were also remarkably egalitarian in terms of race and rank—all races were welcomed and every man from the captain to the cook was treated equally, though women were not present unless they were in disguise). Kurson’s own enthusiasm, combined with his copious research and an eye for detail, makes for one of the most mind-blowing pirate stories of recent memory, one that even the staunchest landlubber will have a hard time putting down. Agent: Flip Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Jun.)