Empire of Blue Water has impeccable timing for its release with the current hoopla running rampant for the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End movie now playing. However, if you are looking for characters as campy as Captain Jack Sparrow, you may be disappointed. There is not much in the way of levity in Empire of Blue Water, simply because the subject is not nearly as lovably quirky as Johnny Depp makes it appear. Instead, Talty shows a great dedication to research which results in historical accuracy that is fascinating on its own.
Often overlooked in pirate lore is the fact that they were in fact a very democratic lot. The swankier quarters onboard were gutted so that no man had a better place to sleep than any one else. Booty was divvied up scrupulously, and men were compensated for loss of limb. Captains were elected and could be deposed quickly should it become necessary. Rules were made and abided by; retribution was swift and harsh.
Eyewitness testimony corroborates the legendary cruelty and questionable sanity of Edward Teach, more commonly know as Blackbeard. While playing poker with two shipmates with whom he had no quarrel, Blackbeard blew out the candle on the table, drew his pistols, crossed his arms and fired blindly. One man escaped unscathed, while the other was permanently disabled.
Empire of Blue Water is a fun read that moves quickly, divulging golden nuggets of history proving that, indeed, legends have at least a kernel (and sometimes an entire ear) of truth to them.