Pirates have an almost mythical status in the public imagination - we think of rogue heroes riding the high seas and 'X marks the spot'.
But is this image is flawed at best. Using contemporary sources, Nigel Cawthorne turns the spotlight on the reality of pirate life, revealing the truth behind the legends.
It gives us an insight into infamous the men and women who plundered ship and shore, including Captain Kidd, Blackbeard and Mary Read.
We learn of the hazy distinction between pirates and state-approved privateers who were used to maintain empire, as well as the Port Royal pirate base in Jamaica - known as the 'wickedest city in the world'.
Including details of various pirate exploits, as well as their weapons, ships and unhappy victims, this fascinating read will divide fact from slippery fiction.