Reviewed by David Savage
Set in the Caribbean in the 17th Century Golden Age of Piracy, Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson is a gripping story (non-fiction) based on the true events of two adventurers and treasure hunters, John Chatterton and John Mattera, and their search for a 300 year old pirate ship, the Golden Fleece, and the pirate Joseph Bannister.
Having never read any of Kurson’s work before and pirate stories not being my usual reading material I decided to give it a try as it was recommended by 2 of my favourite authors Michael Connelly and Lee Child, and I’m glad I did.
In the 1680’s Joseph Bannister was an English nobleman and the captain of the Golden Fleece, a merchant ship delivering cargo between London and Jamaica. Bannister for some unknown reason then turned to the life of crime and became a pirate until his ship was sunk by the Royal Navy in 1686. This is not only the story of a pirate and treasure hunting but one of a man who defeated the might of the Royal Navy and the 2 friends who will not give up in their hunt to find the Golden Fleece, no matter what the risk or cost.
Over 300 hundred years later Chatterton and Mattera, well-known treasure hunters, adventurers and divers, are asked to find the Golden Fleece and this story follows their years of research and hunting, as well as spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, to find a very rare lost item, a real life pirate ship and it’s treasures. But to find the ship they must travel the world researching the pirate himself!
Overall, Pirate Hunters is a fantastic book. As I said at the beginning pirate novels are not generally my thing but once I started this book I was finished in 2 days. Fast-paced and filled with action, suspense, adventure and best of all, it’s all true!
While essentially a treasure hunting story it also has an educational value, dispelling myths about pirates, showing how they operated and the value that was placed on them. Yes it is a true story with lots of historical facts but don’t be fooled, it is in no way boring. Once you start reading you won’t be able to stop!
This is the story of 2 men who are not just hunting treasure, but the story of a long forgotten pirate and 2 explorers mission to solve a mystery and the lengths they go to do it including having to travel the world in their hunt for information.
A thoroughly enjoyable and extremely well-written true-life adventure. The story flows well blending history, facts and action together making sure that you keep turning the page. I highly recommend you read and you don’t even have to like pirates!
RRP: £8.99 (Paperback) / £4.99 (Kindle)
Available to buy from Amazon here.