100 books like The Queen of Swords

By R. S. Belcher,

Here are 100 books that The Queen of Swords fans have personally recommended if you like The Queen of Swords. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Red Seas Under Red Skies

Misty Massey Author Of Mad Kestrel

From my list on pirates who like a little magic in the mix.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on the coast of South Carolina, where many of the Golden Age pirates were welcomed as business associates and charming guests by some of the most influential people of the day. They are, to this day, considered local heroes. I read everything I could lay hands on about them, fiction and histories, and I knew my first book would have to be about the pirate I always pretended I could be, if I’d only been born two hundred years ago.

Misty's book list on pirates who like a little magic in the mix

Misty Massey Why did Misty love this book?

If there’s anything I like as much as pirates, it’s heist stories. The excellent follow-up to the amazing Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas rang every one of my bells by taking our favorite thieving bastards Locke and Jean to sea, under the command of a strong, brilliant female captain, Zamira Drakasha. And she’s not just a woman pirate – she’s a middle-aged, Black single mother, running her ship and being the best pirate any denizen of the high seas could aspire to be. Lynch caught a good bit of flack for this character, but I was delighted. You will be, too.

By Scott Lynch,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Red Seas Under Red Skies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Escaping from the attentions of the Bondsmagi Locke Lamora, the estwhile Thorn of Camorr and Jean Tannen have fled their home city. Taking ship they arrive in the city state of Tal Varrar where they are soon planning their most spectacular heist yet; they will take the luxurious gaming house, The Sinspire, for all of its countless riches.

No-one has ever taken even a single coin from the Sinspire that wasn't won on the tables or in the other games of chance on offer there.

But, as ever, the path of true crime rarely runs smooth and Locke and Jean…


Book cover of On Stranger Tides

Set Sytes Author Of India Muerte And The Ship Of The Dead

From my list on making you want to be a pirate of the Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved pirates and fantasy – combining the two is just wonderful in my eyes, cemented with my first watch of The Curse of the Black Pearl. It’s a struggle to identify exactly why these things appeal so much – I suppose my imagination and sense of free-wheeling roguish adventure runs wild. I’ve loved action-adventure and exploration since growing up watching the Indiana Jones films and playing Tomb Raider. The beloved genre of pirate fantasy seemed absurdly scarce within literature. I couldn’t find the books I wanted to read – so I had to write them, filling them with all the pirate fantasy staples I adored, twisting them, and adding entirely new creations.

Set's book list on making you want to be a pirate of the Caribbean

Set Sytes Why did Set love this book?

I must start, of course, with the quintessential pirate fantasy book.

Many might not be aware that the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film was loosely adapted from this 1987 novel by Tim Powers. Anybody who knows the genre and is asked for a pirate fantasy book most likely brings up this one first. It’s the clearest yet expression of a rarified genre, and something with few imitators.

Expect to be entertained with high-seas piracy, ship battles, jungles, dark voodoo, ghost ships, and zombies as you follow Jack Shandy on the quest for the Fountain of Youth. Blackbeard, played wonderfully by Ian McShane in the film, proves a foreboding antagonist with supernatural designs.

By Tim Powers,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked On Stranger Tides as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award
Shortlisted for the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel

1718: Puppeteer John Chandagnac has set sail for Jamaica to recover his stolen inheritance, when his ship is seized by pirates. Offered the choice to join the crew, or be killed where he stands, he decides that a pirate's life is better than none at all.

Now known as Jack Shandy, this apprentice buccaneer soon learns to handle a mainsail and wield a cutlass - only to discover he is now a subject of a Caribbean pirate empire ruled by one Edward Thatch, better known…


Book cover of Ship of Magic

Lucy A. McLaren Author Of Awakening

From my list on fantasy with a prominent feminist theme.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a fantasy author and professional counsellor, I am incredibly passionate about topics which are relevant not only to mental health, but to us in contemporary society. Feminist themes such as those discussed in my book list comes under than umbrella—we deal with these in our day to day lives. I experience them personally and also see it within my counselling clients. I believe that being able to read about these issues within fantasy stories is really important to allow us to understand and process the difficult thoughts and feelings they can bring up within us.  

Lucy's book list on fantasy with a prominent feminist theme

Lucy A. McLaren Why did Lucy love this book?

The Liveship Traders books explore the roles of women in arguably more depth than previous and subsequent books within Hobb’s massive Realm of the Elderlings series. In Ship of Magic, we are introduced to multiple characters including female protagonists Althea and Malta, two members of the Vestrit family who, throughout this series, try to establish their place in a society that very firmly places women within restricted roles. Hobb is a master at character work, and following the stories of these two young women is a journey in itself. We see them evolve, grow, and, ultimately, overcome the oppressions placed upon them by those around them. In the trilogy as a whole, Hobb explores these issues alongside historic abuse and trauma, mental health, and equality. An excellent exploration of feminist issues.  

By Robin Hobb,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ship of Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'As addictive as morphine' THE TIMES

From the author of the classic Farseer trilogy, SHIP OF MAGIC is the first part of the Liveship Traders. Set in a land bordering the Six Duchies, Robin Hobb begins her epic tale of pirates, talking ships, magic, sea serpents, slave revolts, dashing heroes and bloody battles.

Wizardwood, the most precious commodity in the world, comes only from the Rain Wilds. But only a liveship can negotiate the perilous waters of the Rain Wild River, and liveships are hard to come by. They quicken only when three family members from successive generations have died…


Book cover of The Black God's Drums

Misty Massey Author Of Mad Kestrel

From my list on pirates who like a little magic in the mix.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on the coast of South Carolina, where many of the Golden Age pirates were welcomed as business associates and charming guests by some of the most influential people of the day. They are, to this day, considered local heroes. I read everything I could lay hands on about them, fiction and histories, and I knew my first book would have to be about the pirate I always pretended I could be, if I’d only been born two hundred years ago.

Misty's book list on pirates who like a little magic in the mix

Misty Massey Why did Misty love this book?

This one’s a little different – pirates sail the clouds instead of the ocean. In a world where Haiti won its freedom at a devastating cost, a young Black woman wants to earn a place on an airship, but can’t seem to find any way to prove her worth to the sky pirates she longs to join. Until she learns about a weapon called the Black God’s Drums, that someone plans to use to wipe New Orleans off the map. Add in the whispers of an orisha with its own agenda and a possible romantic attraction to the peg-legged Captain Ann-Marie, and you’ve got everything a pirate might want.

By P. Djèlí Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Black God's Drums as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air - in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie's trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God's Drums.

But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.

Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight…


Book cover of Women and English Piracy, 1540-1720: Partners and Victims of Crime

Claire Jowitt Author Of The Culture of Piracy, 1580-1630: English Literature and Seaborne Crime

From my list on pirates in the age of sail.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer-researcher based at the University of East Anglia. My work is driven by a love of travel and the sea, and an interest in how people move between cultures and ideas across time. I’ve written widely on early modern travel writing and maritime culture, plays about cultural encounter including first contact, and the intersections between ideas about gender, race, colonial and/or imperial identities, and power. At heart, I’m a cultural historian interested in how people and writing can say one thing but mean another.

Claire's book list on pirates in the age of sail

Claire Jowitt Why did Claire love this book?

Studies of early modern piracy often either focus on one or two exceptional women – Elizabeth I, Gráinne Ní Mháille, Anne Bonny, and Mary Read – or neglect women altogether. This book challenges assumptions about early modern women’s contribution to and involvement with piracy, exploring how female lives intersected with it in numerous and nuanced ways. Female family members often acted as receivers and dealers of stolen goods: their involvement shows agency in relation to piracy, though female victimization was also common. In fact, partnerships with women were part of the wider patterns of support pirates received from seafaring communities; familial relationships often triggered female involvement since economic integration and domestic connections were linked in the maritime world. Appleby suggests that due to the changing nature of piracy, female agency diminished by the end of the seventeenth century.

By John C. Appleby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women and English Piracy, 1540-1720 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Piracy was one of the most gendered criminal activities during the early modern period. As a form of maritime enterprise and organized criminality, it attracted thousands of male recruits whose venturing acquired a global dimension as piratical activity spread across the oceans and seas of the world. At the same time, piracy affected the lives of women in varied ways. Adopting a fresh approach to the subject, this study explores the relationships and contacts between women and pirates during a prolonged period of intense and shifting enterprise. Drawing on a wide body of evidence and based on English and Anglo-American…


Book cover of Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates

Wendy K. Perriman Author Of Fire on Dark Water

From my list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with pirates began as a student in Bristol (UK) – the legendary hometown of Edward Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard. Later, I visited the Pirates of Nassau Museum in the Bahamas and was amazed to learn there had been women buccaneers too. I wanted to discover more about these daring females and find out what might have enticed them to brave a tenuous life on the account. As fate would have it, I now live in North Carolina near the Outer Banks where Blackbeard met his fate. These experiences inspired me to write a different kind of adventure story about the real pirates of the Caribbean featuring a strong, resilient, swashbuckling female.

Wendy's book list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean

Wendy K. Perriman Why did Wendy love this book?

David Cordingly’s book is useful for its accurate and lively attempt to separate pirate facts from public fiction. He sifts through childhood tales of wooden legs and parrots to highlight the harsh realities experienced by most of these violent rogues. The tortures he describes serve to remind the reader that these were desperate times full of volatile career criminals. And the women were often as dangerous as their male counterparts! While considering Anne Bonny and Mary Read, he questions “Were there other women pirates?” and “How was it possible for a woman to pass herself off as a man in the cramped and primitive conditions on board an eighteenth-century ship?” These prompts helped me to focus on the issues my own female protagonist would have to overcome during her nautical adventures. I recommend this book because it is informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining.

By David Cordingly,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Under the Black Flag as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book sets out to discover the truth behind the stereotypical image of the pirate. Examining the rich literary and cultural legacy of piratical icons from Blackbeard to Captain Hook, the author compares the legends with their historical counterparts and comes up with some surprising conclusions. In a wider overview of the piracy myth, he explores its enduring and extraordinary appeal and assesses the reality behind the romance, answering in the process questions such as: why did men become pirates; were there any women pirates; how much money did they make from their plundering and looting; what effect did their…


Book cover of Bold in Her Breeches: Woman Pirates Across the Ages

Julie Walker Author Of Bonny & Read

From my list on female pirates and their inspiration.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been obsessed by the story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read since I heard about them in an Adam Ant song "Five Guns West". I know more than is good for me about pirates and wanted to share some of the fantastic books that inspired me when I wrote the novel Bonny & Read. Eighty years before Pride and Prejudice was written there were women armed with cutlasses roaming the Caribbean looking for ships to plunder – I want to give everyone the opportunity to learn more about this incredible hidden history.

Julie's book list on female pirates and their inspiration

Julie Walker Why did Julie love this book?

Anne Bonny and Mary Read weren’t history’s only female pirates – though you’ll find them here alongside some lesser-known names.

From Artemisia in Ancient Greece, though to Grace O’Malley, Cheng I Sao, and more, you’ll find stories on what drove these women to sea, and the freedom it offered them alongside the risks. Fascinating.

By Jo Stanley (editor),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Bold in Her Breeches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As far back as 480 BC, when Artemisia commanded her Greek trireme, women have taken to the high seas in pursuit of life and liberty. Simultaneously revered and reviled by superstitious male mariners, the realities of these women pirates' lives have been lost in a murky fog of sexual and racial preconceptions.
Bold in her Breeches takes a wholly fresh look at these mythical figures and places them in their true historical and cultural contexts. From Artemisia to the contemporary women pirates of today, via eighteenth-century Grace O'Malley and nineteenth-century Cheng I Sao, we learn why women took to piracy,…


Book cover of Pirate Queens

Laura Sook Duncombe Author Of Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas

From my list on discover the truth about women pirates.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved pirates since my first viewing of Mary Martin’s Peter Pan at age 5. My passion for learning about these outlaws led me to discover the hidden stories of women pirates—who have always sailed alongside their male counterparts yet never get the same glory. When I learned about Cheng I Sao, the greatest pirate who ever lived (who was a woman), I was so angry that her story wasn’t more well-known that I wrote a book about it! It has been a joy and an honor to share the stories of pirate women with the world and I have fully embraced my title of “crazy pirate lady.”

Laura's book list on discover the truth about women pirates

Laura Sook Duncombe Why did Laura love this book?

This new book is a great example of how women pirates continue to captivate and inspire us. Leigh Lewis has created a truly unique hybrid of a poetry collection and historical text which is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s suitable for middle grade readers but enjoyable for all readers. I hope to see more from Leigh!

By Leigh Lewis, Sara Woolley (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pirate Queens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Move over Blackbeard and Captain Kidd! Did you know that the most powerful pirate who ever lived was a woman? Read all about her and more formidable females in this edgy, one-of-a-kind collection that combines poetry, fascinating facts, and pictures.

This wow-worthy book proves that women have been making their mark in all aspects of history even the high seas! Meet Ching Shih, a Chinese pirate who presided over a fleet of 80,000 men (by contrast, Blackbeard had some 300). Get the scoop on Anne Bonny who famously ran away from an arranged marriage to don trousers and brandish a…


Book cover of History of the Pirates: True Story of the Most Notorious Pirates

Julie Walker Author Of Bonny & Read

From my list on female pirates and their inspiration.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been obsessed by the story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read since I heard about them in an Adam Ant song "Five Guns West". I know more than is good for me about pirates and wanted to share some of the fantastic books that inspired me when I wrote the novel Bonny & Read. Eighty years before Pride and Prejudice was written there were women armed with cutlasses roaming the Caribbean looking for ships to plunder – I want to give everyone the opportunity to learn more about this incredible hidden history.

Julie's book list on female pirates and their inspiration

Julie Walker Why did Julie love this book?

Possibly Daniel Defoe, possibly not; the mysterious Captain Johnson clearly had first-hand information about the most notorious pirates of the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean when it was first published back in 1724.

As well as stories about Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, and Black Bart Roberts, Johnson is the reason we know about Anne Bonny and Mary Read’s extraordinary true stories. Jack Rackham served with Blackbeard, too – a fact that I love. 

By Charles Johnson, Daniel Defoe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The famous history that inspired so many adventure novels, movies and most recently Black Sails & Pirates of the Caribbean. Find out the truth behind the legend: Table of Contents: • Of Captain Avery, And his Crew • Of Captain Martel, And his Crew • Of Captain Teach, alias Blackbeard • Of Major Stede Bonnet, And his Crew • Of Capt. Edward England, And his Crew • Of Captain Charles Vane, And his Crew • Of Captain John Rackam, And his Crew • The Life of Mary Read, And Anne Bonny • Of Captain Howel Davis, And his Crew •…


Book cover of A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates

Wendy K. Perriman Author Of Fire on Dark Water

From my list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with pirates began as a student in Bristol (UK) – the legendary hometown of Edward Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard. Later, I visited the Pirates of Nassau Museum in the Bahamas and was amazed to learn there had been women buccaneers too. I wanted to discover more about these daring females and find out what might have enticed them to brave a tenuous life on the account. As fate would have it, I now live in North Carolina near the Outer Banks where Blackbeard met his fate. These experiences inspired me to write a different kind of adventure story about the real pirates of the Caribbean featuring a strong, resilient, swashbuckling female.

Wendy's book list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean

Wendy K. Perriman Why did Wendy love this book?

It was long thought that Captain Charles Johnson was a pseudonym for Daniel Defoe (of Robinson Crusoe fame), the original pirate novelist. As such, this anecdotal collection of seafaring tales may be as close to historical “primary source” material as we can get! A General History has inspired several generations of nautical poems, plays, and novels about life on the account, including Fire on Dark Water. Captain Johnson’s classic book undoubtedly raised public awareness about the lives and loves of many buccaneers and it is still a fascinating read today.

By Captain Charles Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1724-and now with an introduction and commentary by David Cordingly, best-selling author of the pirate classic Under the Black Flag-this famous account of the most notorious pirates of the day was an immediate success. Written by the mysterious Captain Johnson, it appeared in the book world at a time since described as the "Golden Age of Piracy" and vividly captures the realities of the savage seafaring existence-detailing specific events, including trials, of the day's most feared pirates. Indeed, this book has become the main source for scholars seeking to learn more about the female pirates Mary Read…


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