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Pirate Queen: The Life of Grace O'Malley 1530���1603

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  34 ratings  ·  11 reviews
This biography of Grace O'Malley, the unofficial pirate queen of Ireland in the 16th century, will delight readers with its spine-tingling accounts of plunder, piracy, kidnapping, and royal acquaintances. From her early marriage to her near hanging, O'Malley's life is extraordinary and provides for a captivating read.
Paperback, 195 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Tuckwell Press, Ltd. (first published April 1st 2004)
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I was expecting pirate adventures but this book is no fairy story it's a great historical document set in a time during which Ireland changed vastly from a country of perhaps 60 kingdoms ruled by clan chiefs to a more homogenous colony of England ruled by the king or queen.
Grace O'Malley or Grainemhaoil is a fascinating character who got to the top of her game “maintenance by sea and land” (plundering to you and me. Arrr!) at a time when women had very little control of their destiny. She was a
Jan 16, 2014 Norah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: John and Mary
Recommended to Norah by: Oxfam cull
Fascinating stuff, she was quite a woman! Love the references to places in Galway where we were this summer, and to Mayo where my mother lived as a child. A difficult book to follow, due to the strange, even to an Irish mind, names, the number of characters, and the complications of English/Irish history which has not even been well chronicled over the years. However it was a worthwhile read, and kept me glued to the very end.
Judith Cook's book, 'Pirate Queen: The Life of Grace O'Malley, 1503 - 1603', is a most informative read. The book is not so much about Grace herself as it is about the era in which she lived - one which was turbulent to say the least. Additionally, and also of note, is that Cook does a remarkably good job of charting the somewhat byzantine 'quagmire' which constituted the Irish political landscape of the time, one of ever changing loyalties.

While Cook's scope of research and attention to detail
Once again i find myself expecting more from a book than I actually got, and I liken this to the last book about Grace O'Malley I read a few years ago. The first half of the book seemed to mention her only in passing, as though it were setting the stage for the second half...which it may well have been doing...but it bothered me. I found myself much more interested in the last three to four chapters. Granted, I know enough about her to know that information about her life is hard to come by (as ...more
I couldn't go further than the first chapter. It was filled with typos and historical inaccuracies that I couldn't overlook. She is no expert on Irish history and it shows from the beginning. Whether the rest of the book was good or not I can't say, but reading further when, from the beginning, the historical facts were wrong, would have put me in pain.
Cecelia Hightower
Grace lived 73 years and had a very active and interesting life, even allowing for literary licence. She was the daughter of a clan chief, learned seamanship and navigation from her father, married at fifteen, took over command of a fleet of galleys and ruled the waves around the Irish coast for thirty years.

She was a strong woman, in a man's world, that took terrible revenge for the murder of her lover, her conflicts with men sent by Queen Elizabeth the First to rule over Ireland, spending more
Nicholas Whyte

Cook is a clunkier writer than Chambers, but actually has a much better political grasp of what was going on in Irish, English and to an extent Scottish politics at the time and casts her net fairly wide. Essentially this turns into a study of the micro-politics of County Mayo in the last third of the sixteenth century, and gives a deep context to the story of the glamorous protagonist. I started by not really liking it because of the style but came around
Grace O'Malley was a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth, but oh so different. The book is part biography and part social history of Ireland with some true pirate adventures thrown in. It was a smooth and delightful read.
I read it for my fascination with Grace O'Malley and kinship spirit though I'm no pirate...a feminist though in the survivalist sense. Writing a bit rough and wish there was more information.
Paddy Sheridan
Dull, verbose and poorly edited; boring and tedious rather than a gripping read.
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Judith Cook was a lecturer in theatre at the University of Exeter. She wrote several mysteries based on the casebooks of Dr Simon Forman, an Elizabethan doctor and astrologer.
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