Pirate Queen: The Legend of Grace O’Malley

Written by Tony Lee
Review by Mike Ashworth

Grace O’Malley was lord of the O Maille dynasty in the west of Ireland. The story opens with her childhood, brought up and educated as befitted her station as a daughter of a powerful Irish lord. However, she preferred sword play and was determined to help her father defend their land against the depredations of the English under Henry Tudor, and then Elizabeth I. When her father was murdered, she took the fight to the English marauders, a conflict she continued all her life. She even met with Queen Elizabeth with whom history records she established a relationship of mutual respect.

This graphic novel is designed for readers aged 9+. The story line is strong, reflecting the actual history, while the graphics are vivid, bringing the story to life. Her character, and determination inhabit the pages, acting as a contrast to the murderous villain, Lord Richard Bingham, who is driven by hatred for all things Irish. This is the first graphic novel I have read, and I found the whole novel vibrant, bringing alive the tale of a strong, determined woman who fought against injustice for the whole of her life until her death in 1603 – the same year as Elizabeth I. Recommended.