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Kingston by Starlight
by Christopher John Farley

Category: Fiction / Historical
336 pages; ISBN: 1400082455

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner

Review

Kingston by Starlight
Christopher John Farley
Crown (Three Rivers), Jul 2005, $13.95, 336 pp.
ISBN: 1400082455

In the eighteenth century in County Cork Ireland, Anne Bonny enjoys her wealthy childhood until her father gambles away their fortune; he flees to America leaving his two women behind buried under a cloud of scandal and a mountain of debt. Annie and "Ma" book passage on a slave ship heading to the Americas. However, Ma dies on the journey and Annie lands in South Carolina but she has no idea where her dad is and has no inclination to find him.

Instead the ocean voyage fueled a desire in Annie to sail the seven seas. As a female she knows that would be impossible; however being as tall and broad shouldered as some men, Annie dresses like a man. Thus she begins sailing the Caribbean and drinking at taverns in the Bahamas where she meets pirate Calico Jack Rackam who is shocked to meet a buccaneer who can play chess better than he can. She joins his crew as William “a man of the sea" and his bed as Anne. They make a fortune attacking Spanish vessels and are joined by another pirate Read with a similar secret as that of William. All is well until the trio is caught and forced to stand trial.

KINGSTON BY STARLIGHT is an interesting biographical fiction that provides a different spin to the legendary female pirates of the Caribbean. Interestingly the audience obtains the perspective of an aging Bonny looking back at what she considered her prime time. Christopher John Farley provides a powerful, colorful, but tainted (after all it is the cross dressing pirate telling her story) tale of life in the eighteenth century Caribbean.

Harriet Klausner

 

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