No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Sunday, May 21, 2006

#49: Piratica II: Return to Parrot Island -- Tanith Lee

Piratica II is subtitled 'Return to Parrot Island', but it's not as simple as that. Tanith Lee's alternate history -- it's roughly 1803, and France is a Monarchy, Britain a Republic -- is the backdrop for more Romantick Mishaps, Girls in Disguise and Ethical Piracy.

I don't think this is quite as successful as Piratica was; it feels as though there are too many loose ends, and one of the major plot twists is signalled so unsubtly that surely even the intended YA audience would have spotted it at once. But Lee's invention and playfulness are still very much in evidence: the Black Widow, a spectral pirate-hunting ship captained by Mary Hell (actually Hellstrom); the Morrocain port of Tangerine, complete with rhino-baiting; the ancient Roman ruins of Trey Falco, including four granite lions, a couple of nymph-infested fountains and an empty stone pillar ... and, deliciously, the popular fad for dressing and talking like pirates -- leading to the growth of organisations such as Ahoy Anonymous ("Entirely Confidential Help in Giving Up Pirateness").

Recommended for a grey hungover Saturday.

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