The Sweet Trade
This book fictionalizes the short and colorful careers of the two best-known female pirates ever to sail together, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and their lesser-known confederate, Calico Jack Rackham. Born to poverty, Mary Read lives her life disguised as a man, both as trooper and able seaman, until her ship is taken by the Pretty Anne, the pirate commanded by Calico Jack and his wild consort, Anne Bonny. Anne instantly recognizes that “Michael Read” is a woman, and the fast friendship between the two causes Calico Jack to become violently jealous, until Mary must reveal the secret of her masquerade to him in self-defense.
But the “sweet trade” in the second decade of the eighteenth century is no longer what it was in its heyday, and inevitably, the Pretty Anne is taken by Jonathan Barnet, acting on behalf of crusading governor Woodes Rogers, and the pirate queens must face their surprising fates.
A powerful, readable, and very accomplished first novel that treats its subject with care and love, balancing the wild romance of piracy with its more squalid aspects.