Pirates and Promises
Pirates, wreckers, galley slaves, magic tricks, unusual battle tactics and storms…
In 1615, twins Jack and Becca Tremayne lost their parents when Barbary Pirates raided their Cornish Village and took them prisoner. Bravely soldiering on, the twins manage as best they can (with the help of many friends). One day they save the life of shipwrecked Azfer Hakeem. He is Lebanese royalty, and with his armed merchant ships trades between the Mediterranean and Europe. As repayment for his life he helps to find the twins’ parents – for if they are alive, they are most certainly slaves somewhere in Northern Africa.
With his royal connections, skilled conjuring tricks and art of magic, Azfer and the twins go off to find the missing parents, encountering all sorts of exciting adventures along the way.
This is a good adventure, nicely produced and easy to read. My only quibbles would be that there is very little sense of place or the past – apart from the sailing ships, the story could almost be set modern-day. And perhaps the history is not always quite accurate? China is mentioned – but was Europe trading with China before 1620? ‘Port’ (opposite of Starboard) was not in use until much later (the word would have been larboard). And words such as ‘nosedived’ were a bit out of place. But how important is it for adventures written for young readers of 9-12 years old to be historically accurate?
Pirates and Promises is a tale that children will enjoy, and it is a pleasant change to meet characters that are not English or American but enjoyable Arabs…and Barbary pirates instead of the usual lot from the Caribbean.