Jason Goodwin

Thrill of the Chase

Pirates of Barbary: Corsairs, Conquests and Captivity in the 17th-Century Mediterranean


Jonathan Cape 352pp £20 order from our bookshop

Adrian Tinniswood is a masterly writer of history with a gift for slamming his readers into the thick of the action, as he demonstrated in his fine book on the Great Fire of London, By Permission of Heaven. Now he has tackled a subject thick with smoke and bright with daggers: the Barbary pirates. It is satisfactory to report that Tinniswood’s pirates – living hugger-mugger in the dens of Algiers and Tunis, Muslim corsairs sharing the streets with renegade Englishmen and Dutch outlaws – were as terrifying and successful as their engrossing reputation suggests. 

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