Thursday, 24 May 2012

Review: The Pirates! in an Adventure with Moby Dick by Gideon Defoe

Book cover of The Pirates! in an Adventure with Moby Dick by Gideon Defoe
At the end of The Pirates! in an Adventure with Moby Dick, there are ten pages of other (pretend) titles by the same author, and I love this book so much that I would happily read every single one of them. I'm sure The Pirates! in an Adventure with Heavy Petting and The Pirates! in an Adventure with a Steep Hill would sell especially well.

They’re back!!! The Pirate Captain and his irascible crew of scoundrels return in their soggiest saga yet.Fresh from their mishaps with Charles Darwin and the evil Bishop of Oxford, the Pirates set sail in a bouncy new vessel——purchased on credit. In order to repay his debts, the Pirate Captain is determined to capture the enigmatic White Whale, hunted by the notoriously moody Ahab, who has promised a reward.Chaos ensues, featuring the lascivious Cutlass Liz, the world’s most dangerous mosquito, an excerpt from the Pirate Captain’s novel in progress (a bodice ripper, of course), whale ventriloquism, practical lessons in whale painting, a shanty-singing contest in a Las Vegas casino, and a dramatic climax in which the Pirate Captain’s prize ham saves the day! Move over, Herman Melville.

So I've apparently infected the blogosphere with manic love (the best kind of love, naturally) for these wonderful little books with my review of ...with Scientists. I've been going on about these books to anyone who'll listen, and even a few people that won't. Check out Ellie's review of ...with Communists or Katie's look at ...with Scientists if you're not already 100% convinced!

Enough about the other books, let's look at this one :) In the interests of full disclosure, I haven't read Moby Dick (the proper book) yet, although I did buy it last week. You don't really need it to understand this book though, just as long as you know the very basic summary - Ahab is Captain obsessed with hunting a great white whale that once bit his leg off. Wow, that was hard, wasn't it?

The recent film actually encompasses this book as well, so the trailer suddenly makes a lot more sense. Here, the Pirate Captain suddenly realises that their ship is looking a bit decrepit, so they head off to Cutlass Liz to get a shiny new one, The Lovely Emma. Unfortunately they can't quite afford to pay her just yet so they take on a contract for Ahab to eliminate that famous white whale.

He looked at his second-in-command seriously. "I'm making a list of when it's acceptable for a pirate to cry."
"That sounds very important, Captain," said the pirate with a scarf, fiddling axiously with his eye-patch.
"So far I've got: one - when holding a seagull covered in oil. Two - when singing a shanty that reminds him of orphans. Three - when confronted by the unremitting loneliness of the human condition. Four - chops. I've just written the word 'chops.' Not really sure where I was going with that one. Any ideas?"

Just like the other books, ...with Moby Dick has an awesome sense of humour that mixes silly slapstick with subtle innuendo to produce one of the funniest books I've read all year. I also love the informative footnotes that provide fun facts, like the origination of the phrase 'cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey' or that it is suspected whales use the magnetic field of the Earth for navigation - that's why so many whales are beached at places where there is an anomaly in the Earth's magnetic field. I did run off to check the facts so I didn't look like a complete moron after this post went up, but thankfully they are all true!

These books are just good fun. They're tiny, but I could happily read them over and over and I doubt they'd ever get stale. I've just done a quick Google, and apparently Gideon Defoe is in talks with Aardman Animation to turn the last two books into a movie as well. I know, I'm raving and I'm sorry. I'll stop when you finally cave in and buy a copy :)

Read my review of The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists or visit Gideon Defoe's website here.


  1. saya juga sering ngalamin sakit pinggang itu , tapi karena sering duduk seharian di depan komputer, pas bangun pagi2 waduh sakitnta bukan main gan
    gatwick to w2 | luton to w2


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