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The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists: A Novel (The Pirates! #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  3,302 Ratings  ·  434 Reviews
Not since Moby-Dick...No, not since Treasure Island...Actually, not since Jonah and the Whale has there been a sea saga to rival The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, featuring the greatest sea-faring hero of all time, the immortal Pirate Captain, who, although he lives for months at a time at sea, somehow manages to keep his beard silky and in good condition.

Audio, 3 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2004)
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It may be a parody of a type of kids' adventure novel I never actually read, but that didn't stop it being one of the most hilarious things I've read this year (and unquestionably the funniest in book form). For anyone happening to notice this post later, yes, okay, it is only late February. Also made me feel like a kid again because I read it in two hours without its being any effort. (Unfortunately, style does make a tremendous difference to reading speed for me, and solemn little literary nov ...more
'That's enough of that, my beauties!' he roared. 'Let's set a course' - at this point the Pirate Captain paused in what he hoped would be a dramatic and exciting fashion - 'for adventure!'

The crew just gave him a bit of a collective blank look. The Pirate Captain sighed.

'All right.' he said with a pout, 'south.'

Oh, but it IS adventure the pirates blunder into as they help Charles Darwin and his Man-panzee get accepted by Victorian high society and everything.

Here's the hilarious account of their
Jan 14, 2013 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny
Words To Consider Before Embarking on A Piratical Adventure With Scientists:







If you feel you are not yet ready to become entangled with these and other similar words you may want to spend a week in your local library's section on Pirates! for Dummies before picking this book up.

Aaarghh! That scurby knave, Gideon Defoe, is some sort of comedy genius, his debut novel reads like a Frankenstein's monster-type creation that is part Lemony Snicket, part Douglas Adams,
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists follows the story of the Pirate captain and his unorthodox crew. On their adventures they meet Charles Darwin and his highly trained and sophisticated “man-panzee” Mister Bobo. Darwin has been banished from London by a rival scientist and manages to convince the Pirate captain to help defeat his enemies.

While this book and the rest of the series is not aimed at children, it comes as a real surprise that the stop animation movie adaption was. I’ve not
Apr 15, 2012 Clair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, fiction
Two weeks ago, I went to my nearest cinema to watch The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists. It was a fun little film, and it's classic Aardman entertainment, but it's nothing great. In fact, as far as Aardman films go, it's maybe a little notch above Flushed Away. But it isn't bad, it just isn't Chicken Run or classic Wallace & Gromit.

Miniature movie review aside, what did I think of the original book? It was absolutely hilarious, and contains so much over the top silliness that it sho
Aly (Fantasy4eva)
'and is that.... a treasure map tattooed on your belly?'
'no. it's the periodic table.'

for two days i've been trying to read a book. i've started two and not even got past 30 pages. i picked up a few other books and put them back down. hugely frustrating.

so i went for a pirate book. because of course that makes sense.

apparently it is supposed to be a very funny read. and maybe i just have a lame sense of humour, because i did not laugh once. but it's what i need right now. it is silly - on the ve
Aug 27, 2011 Kurt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Pirates! is a book for adults (mostly) written in the style of a middle-grade book with footnotes detailing recipes for a good mai-tai and descriptions of pirate shanties about mermaids that put out.

There is a little bit of a plot.

The remarkable (a talking monkey) is mundane.

The mundane (ham) is remarkable.

People die. Especially the pirates with names, like Marcus and Stan. It is gory.

Defoe's relentless silliness can be overbearing if taken in one sitting. This is an excellent chapter-o
Jul 16, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, fiction
Hrm. Well the story is cute and sometimes clever. But I kept stumbling over a lot of moments where a woman being murdered is a punchline, or women are treated only as dateable targets. Those jokes never seem to be clever or layered enough to be a critique of anything, and really just feel like a big thread of plain old misogyny throughout.
Nov 17, 2008 Charles rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
I know it's supposed to be humor, and I'm a very hard sell for humor. It takes a lot to get me to laughing and this one didn't do it for me. Take my comments with a grain of salt, though. A lot of folks seemed to find it funny, but then I didn't care for Douglas Adams either.
Nov 13, 2010 Monika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody with any sort of sense of humor
The best part about this lovely little book about Pirates, and scientists, and nonsense, is that it does what so little humor books, or tv shows, or anything in pop culture dares to do; it is completely designed to make fun of itself.
The whole book reads like a beautiful, witty little joke, and yet; the characters are fun, the plot is followable, and the writing is wonderful. Defoe's book was "written for a girl" who was not successfully wooed by the pirate adventure. That bit of information, wh
Apr 02, 2008 nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun, silly read. I stumbled across this book by chance and was attracted to it by the title (being in grad school in science and all). After reading the back cover of the book I bought it.

It's complete nonsense and super fun (don't worry, there is a's about pirates! in an adventure with scientists!). It is exactly my type of humor. It's pretty short so it's a nice weekend read (or even just a one-day read).
It is quite funny, and also rather sexist. The flyleaf mentions that Defoe wrote the book to try to win over a woman, who spurned him. A minor strain of bitter sexism runs through the book, which is otherwise a fun romp. I'm disappointed, as it would otherwise be a stellar recommendation.
Not for kids.
Mar 03, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about...PIRATES! Defoe is both creative and funny. Blame it on Disney but I pictured Johnny Depp as the captain. Simply a fun read.
Lorenzio Phillibuster Fireworks
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists is such a delightfully fun adventure. The whimsy and wacky fun really recharged my reading batteries. It’s the kind of book that could appeal to almost all ages and everyone could find a little bit of something that they’d love about this book. There’s a lot of piratical adventures, jokes, various preparations of ham and, as the title suggests, a lot of stuff about science.

The Pirates have gone far too long without an adventure and are resorting to i
Nov 09, 2012 D.M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not ashamed to say I only read this book because I so enjoyed the movie. They are, however, two largely different stories. The movie follows Pirate Captain and his crew of nameless pirate mates on an adventure wherein Darwin is largely a bad guy and the principal villain is Queen Victoria, with a story revolving around a dodo named Polly; the book has Pirate Captain and an only occasionally similar crew of nameless pirate mates on an adventure helping Darwin find his missing brother, and the ...more
Kari Chapman
This book had a lot of style. I really enjoyed the writing style for about the first 5 pages. After that it was just too much style and not enough substance to the story. There was some nice comedy in there, but it was overshadowed by too much general silliness, like the way too long conversation about the proper way to cook ham.

This book just didn't work for me. Perhaps if the general silliness had been spaced out a bit more, the author gone a bit lighter with the style, and the plot advanced q
Jan 26, 2014 Denelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have four and a half minutes, and you feel like a good chuckle because your doctor said it is good for you - which it is - then pick up this book. This is the book that inspired the kids movie, though the book is more for adults since it includes promiscuous mermaids and nudity from the locals on the nearby island. So utterly charming, I want to shove my wenchly bosom into the author's face and try to convince him to be my matey.
Mar 23, 2012 Gail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Silly, but funny. Aimed at older middle school kids who like goofy books, and adults like me. Think Monty Python meets Robert Louis Stevenson, with 90% Python. I enjoyed it and it took about 20 minutes to read. I spent most of the 20 minutes laughing at loud, or reading excerpts to my husband.

Now I know they didn't have Starburst candy in Victorian days, and if that sort of thing bothers you? Don't read it!
Oct 13, 2012 Carry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
haha. i absolutely loved it. :)
Feb 07, 2016 Matthew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-5
There's certainly many things you can call The Pirates! but one adjective that sticks out indelibly is unique. Gideon Defoe conceives a plot that definitely feels like he got a typical, generic pirate adventure novel, Lemony Snicket, The Vile Victorians and a dirty joke book and bundled them together into a pretty weird blender and just mixed it all up. Whatever you're thinking probably doesn't even cut it. "But I've seen the movie!", you might say, so have I, but that doesn't cut it either; for ...more
Dec 28, 2012 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book is just a lot of fun. It's so silly. I suppose it is supposed to take place in Victorian England but really to me it's anachronism.

I sampled this on my kindle first before purchasing it. And this line, causing me to laugh out loud and read it to my husband, made me buy it: "They also respected him because it was said he was wedded to the sea. A lot of pirates claimed that they were wedded to the sea, but usually, this was an excuse because they couldn't get a girlfriend or they were g
Kate Neilan
Dec 02, 2012 Kate Neilan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists is the first in a series of four books by Gideon Defoe, which I read having seen the Aardman adaptation released earlier this year. I was very glad that I did go on to read the book which inspired the film, because otherwise I would have had no idea about how different the storyline of the film was, compare to the original text. I did enjoy the film but had a few problems with the plot - evil Queen Victoria? - whereas in Defoe’s book, the arch enemy o ...more
Aug 11, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
I’ve wanted to read The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists ever since it came out about a decade ago, and so, when I found it for a buck on sale, I tried it out. It doesn’t get more light and quick than this novel...I read it in a day without seeming to spend any time on it. But it was a lot of fun for all its lightness.

The premise is that the Pirate Captain (who’s ridiculous but is revered by his crew) decides that his crew seems to be bored, and so they go off pirating. Unfortunately, th
Jun 29, 2012 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extremely quick and ridiculous read in the best of ways! Although it is the inspiration for The Pirates: Band of Misfits which premiered in April, there are very few ties between the two (namely, referring to pirates simply by their most distinguishable characteristics, pirates disguising themsleves as scientists, and a waistcoat-wearing, decorum-driven man-panzee who communicates through holding up word flashcards in rapid succession). Defoe's light-hearted narrative is intersperced with sub ...more
Dec 29, 2016 Colleen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, fiction
Relentlessly unfunny. I see a lot of people liked this book which is why I got it, and I had such high high hopes, because I see there's a bunch of them, but count me out. Dad jokes, dad jokes everywhere. This is typical for the humor:
"'So there's two pirate boats sailing towards each other,' said the short pirate with the thick black spectacles, 'and one of the boats is carrying all this blue paint. And the other pirate boat is carrying all this red paint. They crash, and you know what happene
Ah, pirate comedy. In Gideon Defoe’s novel, his pirate crew debates the best part of pirating (grog or cutlasses), delights in anachronisms like Post-It notes and dental floss, and accidentally attacks Charles Darwin’s ship, the Beagle. The Pirate Captain (yes, that’s his name) decides to spare Darwin’s life in exchange for a boat ride back to London. Darwin put the pirates up at the swank Royal Society and passes them off as scientists. Soon the pirates are the toast of the town and are up to t ...more
Dec 31, 2016 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Michael Schaefer
Things I love: pirates! Adventure! Scientists!

Things I do not love: this book. :(

For some reason, I just couldn't get into it. There were some giggles towards the start, but there were so many allusions to prior books (despite not being a formal series, from what I can tell), and it was SO MEANDERING, that even I (segue-prone as I am--yes, this is a case in point) couldn't follow what was going on sometimes. I found the footnotes interesting, but essentially disruptive. Overall, I finished the b
Patrick Gibson
Pirates dressing up as scientists dressing up as women, hanging out with Charles Darwin on the Beagle, having adventures and discovering evolution. Monty Python meet Gideon Defoe! Don’t look for a plot because there is none. Don’t look for anything redeeming, social or other, because there is nothing. It’s a light hearted slapstick romp through Pirate lore. And Pirate-speak. “Har!” It wasn’t satirical enough for me but the silly parts made me laugh. You can read it quicker than watching a movie. ...more
I adored this little book. A gem in the pirate comedy adventure genre. Minus a star because it couldn't decide if it wanted to be appropriate for all ages or not. I would give it to a humor loving late teen.

In this one, the Pirates meet up with Charles Darwin and try to help him rescue his brother, Erasmus, who has been kidnapped by a critic of Darwin's science, the Bishop of Oxford.

Very, very funny.
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Gideon Defoe never meant to become an author. When Defoe bumped into a woman he had pursued during his time studying archaeology and anthropology at Oxford, they began chatting about what they were up to. Realising that his job temping for Westminster council was not going to win him any romantic points, he told her that he was writing a novel. She asked to see it, at which point he found that he ...more
More about Gideon Defoe...

Other Books in the Series

The Pirates! (5 books)
  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab
  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists
  • The Pirates! In An Adventure With Napoleon
  • The Pirates! in an Adventure with the Romantics

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“That explains a lot,' he said. 'I suppose it's also why we've never glimpsed that giant compass in the corner of the Atlantic. I have to say, I'm a little disappointed.” 21 likes
“I should say we’d reach England by Tuesday or thereabouts, with a decent wind behind us. It would be a lot quicker than that if we could just sail straight there, but I was looking at the nautical charts, and there’s a dirty great sea serpent right in the middle of the ocean! It has a horrible gaping maw and one of those scaly tails that looks like it could snap a boat clean in two. So I thought it best to sail around that.’

FitzRoy frowned. ‘I think they just draw those on maps to add a bit of decoration. It doesn’t actually mean there’s a sea serpent there.’

The galley went rather quiet. A few of the pirate crew stared intently out of the portholes, embarrassed at their Captain’s mistake. But to everyone’s relief, instead of running somebody through, the Pirate Captain just narrowed his eyes thoughtfully.

That explains a lot,’ he said. ‘I suppose it’s also why we’ve never glimpsed that giant compass in the corner of the Atlantic. I have to say, I’m a little disappointed.”
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