From Publishers Weekly
The legendary Kidd (1654-1701) was a mass of intriguing contradictions. Initially a respectable husband and New York City entrepreneur, he succumbed to a lust for wealth and became a murderous, dictatorial pirate. Archeologist Clifford and co-writer Perry present a robust and chilling account of Kidd's barbaric exploits. The pirate material unfolds in alternating chapters with Clifford's search for the pirate's ship, Adventure Galley, an expedition funded by the Discovery Channel. Clifford describes his hunt meticulously, although his tale is overshadowed by the colorful portrait of a nefarious rogue who killed an innocent native on one of the Maldive Islands to establish authority and punished his crew so brutally they turned to mutiny. Stories about Discovery's tight schedules and frustrating efforts to procure excavation permits offer an in-depth view of obstacles expedition leaders and archeologists face, but Clifford's contemporary yarn gains emotional charge and tension when he deals with Dick Swete, a rival scientist with a longtime grudge, who struggles to deter Clifford. Swete, a descendant of pirate William Rogers, appears as a paranoid equivalent of Kidd and his fellow plunderers. The text's spare clarity brings alive the sea and Madagascar's Ile Sainte-Marie, a place where men could "buy clothing, weapons, drugs, alcohol, and women." Clifford finds his elusive ship, a far happier ending than Kidd found in his amazing saga's final phase, when he was hanged for his crimes and left to dangle in a London public square to warn those contemplating the pirate's life. 50 b&w photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Clifford is searching for lost pirate treasure again, this time in Madagascar, at Ile Sainte Marie, an island that was a haven for pirates in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The object of the search is the sunken ship of the infamous Captain Kidd. Clifford and coauthor Perry alternate between history and narrative. Over the course of the book, they tell how Kidd, a wealthy and respected man in New York's social and political circles, who was royally commissioned as a pirate hunter, later became the most wanted outlaw of his time. In addition, Clifford tells of his own expeditions to the site of the wreck, giving the reader a lesson in the basic techniques of underwater archaeology, recounting the pirate lore of the present-day inhabitants, mapping a network of underground tunnels used by pirates to hide treasure, and visiting the legendary pirate cemetery on the island. If all this sounds like a fascinating adventure story, that's because it is. Young and old readers alike will find a terrific pirate tale and fodder for the imagination. Gavin QuinnCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved