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

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,045 Ratings  ·  402 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.

Hardcover, 144 pages
Published October 19th 2004 by Pantheon Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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Treasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonPeter Pan by J.M. BarrieThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanBloody Jack by L.A. MeyerPirates! by Celia Rees
41st out of 449 books — 597 voters
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Best Humorous Books
322nd out of 3,186 books — 6,243 voters

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Community Reviews

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'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 13, 2014 Vanessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves, 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
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 17, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 02, 2008 nicole rated it it was amazing
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).
Oct 26, 2011 Margie rated it liked it
Shelves: science, humor, pirates, series
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.
Nov 17, 2008 Charles rated it did not like it
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.
Mar 24, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it
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 12, 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
Nov 13, 2010 Monika rated it it was amazing
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
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
Feb 18, 2016 Matthew rated it liked it
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
May 24, 2016 Jennifer rated it liked it
After enjoying the Adventure with Ahab, as well as the Pirates! movie, I collected a couple of Pirates! books and put them on the bedtime story shelf for Jefferson, a decision I was ultimately pretty disappointed with. Despite both this book and the movie involving The Pirates! running into Charles Darwin, that is almost entirely what they have in common And largely to the detriment of this book.

This book is decidedly not family friendly. It was rife with a casual misogyny that was both uncalled
Jun 10, 2009 Kali rated it liked it
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
Patrick Gibson
Jan 26, 2009 Patrick Gibson rated it liked it
Shelves: humorous
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
Monty Circus
Mar 31, 2016 Monty Circus rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour, adventure
Wacky. Silly. Zany. That's how I remember this book. It's tiny but it entertains in spades.
Conan Tigard
Nov 15, 2015 Conan Tigard rated it it was amazing
Unfortunately, I read The Pirates! in an Adventure with Ahab before I read the first book in this series, The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists. Does it matter . . . no. They are stand alone books, but I would have loved to have read them in order.

I'll tell you something, the Pirate Captain and his band of fierce pirates make me laugh out lout. Gideon Defoe has the same twisted sense of humor that I grew up watching on Monty Python's Flying Circus, that wonderful British television serie
Kelsey Dangelo
Jul 09, 2015 Kelsey Dangelo rated it it was amazing
The Pirate Captain is tricked by his arch nemesis to attack The Beagle in search of gold. Instead, the Captain finds himself helping out Darwin and his gentleman chimp in proving himself to the scientists and freeing his brother from the evil Bishop.
Part Monkey Island, part Monty Python, part silly pirate-ness, this hilarious book is perfect, hilarious bookness. Funny, silly, hyperbolic, ridiculous in its own seriousness, trying to be logical when it isn’t logical at all. Dry Brit wit at its bes
Mar 31, 2014 Denelle rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 12, 2011 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
This is a cute, quick story about a ship full of pirates with a taste for both ham and adventure. The luxuriantly-bearded Pirate Captain and his crew (including the scarf-wearing pirate and the pirate in red) meet Darwin, then help the scientist face down a plot that threatens to hide his greatest discovery from the world.

It's fluffy but fun, can be read in one or two sittings, and is best suited for people with a very silly sense of humor.
Rachael Quinn
Nov 06, 2014 Rachael Quinn rated it it was amazing
The chain of events for my relationship with this book look something like this: Cute little hardcover that looks amusing shows up in book sale. Crazy Book Lady gladly forks out $1, for some reason thinking that her husband would probably like it too. Book makes it home and is handed to husband. Later, book ends up on shelf because it is too cute to be banished to the boxes in the closet. A couple of years later, Crazy Book Lady pulls the book's name out of a hat(box) and takes it from the shelf ...more
Jeff Powers
Aug 30, 2015 Jeff Powers rated it really liked it
After seeing this book at the store I leapt at the chance to buy it. Especially at the price of fifty cents. I enjoyed the film adaptation of this book, though I will admit it is not one of Aardman studio's best. The cover's endorsement by Eric Idle and the comparison to Blackadder were really the selling points. And I was not let down. This book is a witty hysterical adventure. Like a parody of children's chapter books with the offset humor of Monty Python. It is ridiculous and hilarious and od ...more
Mar 28, 2008 Kelly rated it did not like it
Shelves: humor
I was definitely not impressed. I'm a huge fan of Monty I don't dislike British humor. However, this book was random and the humor wasn't enough to save it. And it wasn't even that funny. There were it's moments, but it seemed like the author, Gideon Defoe (damn, what a fantastic name...I so wanted to like this book!!!), was trying WAY to hard. It's a bummer.
Aug 01, 2014 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Oooooooh, the piratey-ness! The piratitude! The piratisms! The forced wackiness and hilarity and have-to-be-so-random it hurts. There's a Nefarious Device, of course, and a Damsel in Peril (a redhead named Jennifer! Let's not kill redheads named Jennifer, thanks) and so many pirates without names and ham and hahaha a monkey too.

No wonder the girl wasn't impressed.
Mar 05, 2008 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
I heard this book read out loud at the Storytellers Club at St. John's my freshmen year, and four years later I still smirk whenever I think about it. A pocket-sized dose of wanton piracy, confused evolutionary theory, and cigar chomping chimpanzees, totally worth the hour and a half it will take you to read it.
Apr 09, 2009 Kathryn rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, pirates
Let me just say that the recommendations I sent out for this book are no longer as valid as before. This was silly and fun and simple. I expected more. But I did laugh aloud at times and I love the entire concept of the book. If you are in the mood for a quick ridiculous read, then this will fit the bill.
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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.” 20 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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