Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth film in the series, sets sail in U.S. theaters this Friday. Capt. Jack Sparrow and Barbossa are back in a quest for the fountain of youth, but this time they’re bringing Blackbeard, North Carolina’s most notorious pirate, with them. And if you like pirates, you’ll love some of our best-selling backlist titles:
Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, was one of the most notorious pirates ever to plague the Atlantic coast. He was also one of the most colorful pirates of all time, becoming the model for countless blood-and-thunder tales of sea rovers. His daring exploits, personal courage, terrifying appearance, and fourteen wives made him a legend in his own lifetime.
The legends and myths about Blackbeard have become so wild since his gory death at Ocracoke Inlet that it is difficult for historians to separate fact from fiction. Author Robert E. Lee has studied virtually every scrap of information available about the pirate and his contemporaries in an attempt to find the real Blackbeard. The result is a fascinating and authoritative study that reads like an exciting swashbuckler. Lee goes beyond the myths and the image Teach so carefully cultivated to reveal a new Blackbeard—infinitely more interesting as a man than as a legend. In the process, he has captured the spirit and character of a vanished age, “the golden age of piracy.”
One August night, two young law students knocked three times on the huge door to Blackbeard’s castle, spoke the secret password, and gained admission to a ceremony steeped in local legend. Judge Charles Harry Whedbee was one of those students, and he waited more than fifty years to tell the story of the night he drank from Blackbeard’s cup—the legendary silver-plated skull of Blackbeard the Pirate.
For centuries, the people of eastern North Carolina have spun tales to explain local phenomena and bizarre happenings. For decades, Judge Whedbee collected and preserved that lore. In Blackbeard’s Cup and Stories of the Outer Banks, he once again went to the source and returned with sixteen tales that attest to the rich oral tradition of the coastal area.
Why does the stone arch over the entrance to Cedar Grove Cemetery in New Bern drip blood on passing mourners? Who carved the word CORA in the gigantic live oak tree on Hatteras Island? What causes the sound of cannons firing off the coast of Vandemere in the summer? How did the rare creature known as the sea angel come to be? Why did an Edenton doctor spend a fortune searching for buried treasure? These are only a few of the mysteries contained in this fifth collection from North Carolina’s beloved raconteur.
They were bold, arrogant, brutal. They strode the rolling deck of a ship more easily than the tame streets of a town. They were wealthy—some beyond the wildest dreams of the governors and kings who first supported them, then pursued them. They were the pirates of the 17th and 18th centuries, and they terrorized shipping lanes and coastal villages in the Caribbean and around the world.
The pirates in this book sailed far and wide, but all made their mark on the Atlantic coast. Some made their home there, such as the notorious Blackbeard, who anchored his ship off Ocracoke Island and lived for a time in Bath, North Carolina. Others put ashore just long enough to change seafaring history, such as the rakish “Calico Jack” Rackham, whose chance meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, with a spirited redheaded girl would give the world another legendary pirate—the beautiful Anne Bonny.
Though popular culture has created an image of a “typical” pirate, plying his trade with dash and vigor beneath his skull-and-crossbones flag, in reality these men—and women—were of character and background as varied as the flags they flew. In this collection of pirate tales, you will meet scions of colonial aristocrats like Rhode Island’s Thomas Tew and the dandified Stede Bonnet of Barbados; off-spring of unassuming farm families like Pennsylvanian Rachel Wall and Massachusetts’ Charles Gibbs; and those like Edward Low of England, who escaped lives of desperate poverty and squalor by putting to sea. What these men and women had in common was a yearning for excitement, a love for the seafaring life, and a taste for the wealth that piracy could provide.
Romance, danger, suspense, adventure—all this and more awaits you on board the tall ships with the pirates of the Atlantic coast.