When I first picked up this book I didn’t know what to expect. The last pirate fiction I read was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, in my formative years, and my conceptions, or misconceptions, of pirates were based on this and the depictions of Long John Silver by Robert Newton laced with a bit of Errol Flynn. The recent spate of Hollywood pirate films has done nothing to dispel this.
The hero of Sea Witch, Jesamiah Acorne, is a man who happens to be a pirate, rather than the pirate being all there is to the character, and hence he is much more rounded and believable. The book spends time, through his memories, introducing us to his troubled childhood which made him the person he is, and hence the reader gets to feel they know him and empathise with him.