The best books to fulfill your pirate fantasies

Who am I?

I’m a criminal defense attorney, mom, and wife who grew up along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and lived there for 35 years, staring out at the vast water of the “Inland Seas” aka The Great Lakes. Intrigued by pirates, the criminals of the water, and the stories of pirates roaming the lakes, when I began writing fiction, I absolutely had to write a modern pirate series set in the area where I grew up. I’ve read dozens and dozens of historical non-fiction books about pirates, watched all the classic films and shows about them, and have read pirate romances my entire life, so writing my own was the next logical step.


I wrote...

Squall Line

By Gwyn McNamee,

Book cover of Squall Line

What is my book about?

Warwick “War” Pike is the captain and leader of a crew of modern pirates who operate on the Great Lakes and work for the Italian mob in Chicago. War doesn’t have rules for his crew—lie, maim, steal, do whatever it takes. Except take hostages. When the crew tries to take a cargo vessel on Lake Michigan, he ends up on the wrong end of a shotgun held by the beautiful and feisty redheaded captain—Grace Albright. When War realizes Grace has alerted the Coast Guard, he’s forced to take her with them. Now that Grace is deep in their lair, she’s starting to realize all is not as it appears. Warwick isn’t just a barbaric criminal; there’s something more underneath the surface. Now, her life isn’t the only thing in danger. So is her heart.

The books I picked & why

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Sea of Ruin

By Pam Godwin,

Book cover of Sea of Ruin

Why this book?

This book took me on an incredible adventure on the high seas. This historical pirate romance has everything—action, suspense, love, betrayal, bloody battles, and scorching hot steamy scenes. Rich and deep world-building, the depth of characters and storylines, and the beautiful descriptions pulled me into this story and kept me there the same way a riptide drags you under. I was left speechless during some scenes and will never be able to forgot this book as long as I live. The battle of wills between Bennett and Lord Ashley Cutler left me breathless and the scenes with her lover, pirate Priest Farrell, left me sweating. If you love swashbuckling historical romance with a modern twist, you must grab it. Not for the faint of heart or pearl-clutchers.

Sea of Ruin

By Pam Godwin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Sea of Ruin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Beautiful, soul-shattering, and utterly delicious." ~ Ilsa Madden-Mills, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today bestselling author
Bennett Sharp is on the run.
Wanted for piracy, she fears neither God nor death nor man.
Except Priest Farrell.

The unfaithful, stormy-eyed libertine hunts her with terrifying possessiveness. Nothing will stop him from coming for her. Not his unforgivable betrayal. Not when she's captured by the ice-cold pirate hunter, Lord Ashley Cutler.
She must escape Ashley's prison and Priest's deceit. But can she walk away from their twisted desires?

Two gorgeous captains stand on opposite sides of the law. When…


Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates

By Eric Jay Dolin,

Book cover of Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates

Why this book?

I am a sucker for a good non-fiction book, especially if it features pirates. Ever since childhood, growing up in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan, the water called to me, and learning about real-life pirates and the history kept me reading late into the night. Black Flags, Blue Waters is the epic history of America’s most notorious pirates and it tells riveting tales that are almost unbelievable. While non-fiction, the stories are so enthralling, it almost reads like they can’t possibly be true.  

Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates

By Eric Jay Dolin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Flags, Blue Waters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set against the backdrop of the Age of Exploration, Black Flags, Blue Waters reveals the surprising history of American piracy's "Golden Age" - spanning the late 1600s through the early 1700s - when lawless pirates plied the coastal waters of North America and beyond. "Deftly blending scholarship and drama" (Richard Zacks), best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin illustrates how American colonists at first supported these outrageous pirates in an early display of solidarity against the Crown, and then violently opposed them. Through engrossing episodes of roguish glamour and extreme brutality, Dolin depicts the star pirates of this period, among them the…


Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson,

Book cover of Treasure Island

Why this book?

It’s a classic for a reason. This was one of the first pirate stories I ever read myself and it has stuck with me for thirty years. I’ve re-read it several times because the adventure is still thrilling no matter how many times I experience it. Jim Hawkins somehow becomes all of us in this coming-of-age story, and the reader somehow becomes Jim and suffers what he suffers aboard the Hispanola and once on the island. This book will always be a favorite, and once my daughter is old enough to understand it, I can’t wait to read it again with her.

Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Treasure Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Penguin presents the audio CD edition of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Following the demise of bloodthirsty buccaneer Captain Flint, young Jim Hawkins finds himself with the key to a fortune. For he has discovered a map that will lead him to the fabled Treasure Island. But a host of villains, wild beasts and deadly savages stand between him and the stash of gold. Not to mention the most infamous pirate ever to sail the high seas . . .


Hook's Tale: Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself

By John Leonard Pielmeier,

Book cover of Hook's Tale: Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself

Why this book?

Growing up, I was always more intrigued by Captain Hook, the villain of Peter Pan, more so than I was the title character. John Leonard Pielmeier writes an incredible “memoir” from the most famous fictional pirate and uses the beloved characters from the Peter Pan story of our childhoods in a whole new way. The backstory with Smee, the conflict with the infamous crocodile, and all the major things we see in the classic story are told in a whole new way. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend reading in tandem with the original Peter Pan for a fun way to see two sides to a story.

Hook's Tale: Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself

By John Leonard Pielmeier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hook's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rollicking debut novel from award-winning playwright and screenwriter John Pielmeier reimagines the childhood of the much maligned Captain Hook: his quest for buried treasure, his friendship with Peter Pan, and the story behind the swashbuckling world of Neverland.

Long defamed as a vicious pirate, Captain James Cook (a.k.a Hook) was in fact a dazzling wordsmith who left behind a vibrant, wildly entertaining, and entirely truthful memoir. His chronicle offers a counter narrative to the works of J.M. Barrie, a "dour Scotsman" whose spurious accounts got it all wrong. Now, award-winning playwright John Pielmeier is proud to present this crucial…


Meet The Pirates

By James Davies,

Book cover of Meet The Pirates

Why this book?

This one is for all the parents out there. My five-year-old daughter absolutely adores all things pirate and we love James Davies’ book, Meet the Pirates. It gives historical information and background in a really bright and fun way that keeps kids interested in learning. My daughter was riveted when I was reading to her from this book, all about the background of the pirates, where they roamed the seas, where they settled, and about pirate ships. Even I learned a lot of interesting tidbits of information that I didn’t know. This is part of a series by James Davies that introduces kids to the Ancient Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians, too. 

Meet The Pirates

By James Davies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meet The Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's so much to digest when it comes to History - how do you know where to begin? These incredible short introductions are just the thing for readers aged 6+ who are beginning to explore ancient history. Get to know the basics on Pirates from famous looters to scurvy and hygiene, with easy-to-digest, humorous text that is reminiscent of the bestselling Horrible Histories series. James Davies' stunning artwork and infographics provide a fresh nonfiction approach that is sure to captivate young readers.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Pirates, piracy, and Colonial America?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Pirates, piracy, and Colonial America.

Pirates Explore 56 books about Pirates
Piracy Explore 105 books about piracy
Colonial America Explore 41 books about Colonial America

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Crime and Punishment, and A General History of the Pirates if you like this list.