Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson. An exciting true adventure.
This would be a totally absorbing book if it happened to be a novel, but the fact that this is a true story makes it completely amazing. It’s written in almost novel-form and if you’re like me, you’ll be hooked from the very first page.
Pirates, sunken ships and modern day treasure hunters
The combination of present day and the seventeenth century buccaneering way of life is irresistible and described fabulously by the author. We learn about two men who have put their lives on hold to discover the wreck of the legendary pirate ship the Golden Fleece which was blasted to the bottom of the ocean by the English Navy in 1684.
But not only do we meet the two divers and learn about their own fascinating histories, we also get inside the mind of the man who captained the pirate ship.
Pirate Joseph Bannister
In the early part of his seagoing career, Bannister was a highly respectable man and was employed as the captain of the Golden Fleece to transport valuable cargo – and sometimes important passengers – from London to Jamaica.
The ship’s owners obviously found him to be most trustworthy as his cargo was invariable highly valuable and only the very best captains were trusted to sail the hazardous transatlantic route. The ship itself was expensive and well-equipped. Bannister captained the ship for at least four years, highly successfully.
Then he stole the ship
Without any warning of what was to come, Captain Bannister simply stole the ship he was in charge of. And he did so for only one purpose -to become a pirate. Why? We will never know for sure but the hypothesis put forward in the book seems extremely plausible.
And Bannister became a highly skilled, intelligent pirate. Despite this, he was captured and jailed but as he was awaiting the hangman’s noose, he escaped and stole back the Golden Fleece. But several months later, the Navy was hot on his heels again.
The twenty first century
For hundreds of years it was known that eventually the Golden Fleece had been sunk during a daring battle with the English Navy. It was known that this battle took place in the Caribbean – of the coast of an island which was part of the Dominican Republic.
In 2008, John Chatterton and John Mattera – two experienced divers and treasure hunters – were determined to find it. And they risked everything they had in order to do so. They faced a severe battle of their own in order to do so.
The Golden Fleece was elusive. Treasure hunter thought they knew where the ship was but no-one had ever been able to find it. Would Chatterton and Mattera? As time went on, everything was stacked up against them.
More than just a great adventure
The book tells so much more about the lives of pirates during the seventeenth century and into the minds and motives of them men who are obsessed with discovering more.
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