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The Pirate

by Christopher Wallace

This book switches between the stories of two men called Martin Laws - one an 18th century officer-surgeon on a slave ship, the other a contemporary drug-dealing Mediterranean with a chaotic personal life. I warmed to the 18th century Martin more than his namesake whose sordid life gets a bit repetitive. But don't be put you off, it’s really worth persevering - for the power of the contrasting use of language alone. That made this book for me.

Extract

He thought back to the day he had first stepped aboard the Anne. A last throw of the dice. He thought of how things had changed, day by day, land after sea. Everything had changed so that he would arrive at this moment, when he would realise he no longer cared, that he had nothing to lose but his own sense of worth, his own humanity. And how he was not going to surrender that without a fight.

Parallels

Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
Les Visiteurs - the film
 

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