Sunday, July 23, 2006

Piratica - Tanith Lee

It's been a piratical week: I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on Friday, but earlier in the week I read a book "presented most handsomely by the notorious author Tanith Lee"; Piratica is "a daring tale of a singular girl's adventure upon the high seas" - at least according to the book cover !

The story takes place in a parallel world in the year Seventeen-Twelvety (roughly 1802) and is more of an historical than a fantasy adventure. It begins with 16 year old Artemesia Fitz-Willoughby Weatherhouse (Art to just about everyone), falling down some stairs and discovering that she doesn't want to remain at the select but dreary Angels Academy for Young Ladies at which her father left her at the age of 10 after her mother was killed. Art longs for the life that her deceased mother Molly led and is determined to live it. Molly Faith was a notorious female pirate who coined and earned the feared nickname, "Piratica".

Art, at her father's suggestions, is locked in a room as punishment for her attempts to rebel, but she escapes via the chimney and heads for Ports Mouth and the unruly inn where her mother's old shipmates congregate to drown their sorrows - in coffee. Taking on her mother's mantle, Art urges them to resurrect their former seafaring career of pirating and to strike out for further fame and infamy. It is at this juncture that Art learns a fearful and completely unexpected truth about her infamous mother's past life. It's a twist so unexpected that I won't say any more about it for fear of spoiling the surprise, but Art gets over the shock and embarks on the career that she desires.

This book was fun and fairly gripping; pleasingly there is a sequel, Piratica: Return to Parrot Island which I will have to try to find at the library.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is actually funnier and more exciting than was the first film. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Johnny Depp in staggering-swaggering-pirate mode, and Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swann was terrific (I especially loved her sword play - and she did quite a few of the stunts herself). The only problem that I have is that I want to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3 now !

Talking of films, I'm off to see Stormbreaker on Tuesday - and I can hardly wait to see what they've done with the first Alex Rider book !

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I was privileged enough to meet my editor for the first time yesterday: Kelly Herold of Big A, little a and editor of The Edge of the Forest made a flying visit to Oxford (only to be greeted by floods around Oxford railway station owing to the heavy thunderstorm/cloudburst that was taking place!) Once the rain had stopped, we visited Lyra and Will's Bench in the Botanic Garden - disappointingly it doesn't have a plaque on it commemorating the fact that it's Will and Lyra's Bench, but at least we can say we saw it ! We also discussed Harry Potter book 7 theories, Terry Pratchett, and Helen Dunmore's Ingo and The Tide Knot (which I'm currently reading), amongst other things.


Camille said...

How fun to meet Kelly in person.

I will be really interested to know what you think of Alex R. The movie trailer views of him did not hit me quite right. Maybe it was his hair hi-lights...oh I hope it is good. Horowitz was so eloquent and proud talking about the movie.

Michele said...

It was great fun ! And her children and hubby were nice too !

Don't worry, I'll post some comments on Stormbreaker tomorrow so long as Blogger is behaving itself ! I've not even seen a review - just some stills...