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The Ghost Pirates

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  464 ratings  ·  50 reviews
A riveting novel of fear and adventure, The Ghost Pirates completes Hodgson's acclaimed theme trilogy that began with The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig' and continued through The House on the Borderland.
Paperback, Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult, 159 pages
Published 1975 by Sphere Books Limited (first published 1909)
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William Hope Hodgson's first published novel, "The Boats of the Glen Carrig" (1907), is a story of survival after a disaster at sea, and of the monstrous plant and animal life-forms that the survivors encountered while trying to reach home. In his second book, the now-classic "The House on the Borderland" (1908), Hodgson described an old recluse's battle against swine creatures from the bowels of the Earth, and the old man's subsequent cosmic journey through both time and space. And in his third ...more
"The thing, whatever it was, had come more forward over the rail; but now, before the light, it recoiled with a queer, horrible litheness. It slid back, and down, and so out of sight. I have only a confused notion of a wet glistening Something, and two vile eyes."
ein Leichter
Hodgson is easily one of my favorites. Someone needs to publish an edition of this book that includes a glossary of nautical terms and an accompanying diagram of a ship.
Joel Ayala Alicea
This is the last installmente in what later came to be known as Trilogy of the abyss or Hodgson trilogy. But the reader should know that even though its very author regarded them as a trilogy the three novels -The boats of the Glen Carrig, The house on the borderland and The ghost pirates- may be read in any order whatsoever, because they differ in scope and theme; although the first and the last one share a common setting, the sea, the stories are quite different. So, having said, I must defin ...more
I liked this one a lot. I wish I could find more of this "hauntings at sea" type of thing. The only drawback was all the nautical terminology I wasn't sure about. Overall, it was a great Halloween read.
Ben Loory
not nearly as spectacular (or spectacularly weird) as hodgson's The House on the Borderland, but it moves right along and does finally explode into full visionary horror mode in (fittingly enough) chapter thirteen, "the shadow in the sea," in and after which it is great. it's the kind of story that grows larger in your mind once it's done and just seems better and better and better. some pretty amazing imagery. over a hundred years old and still reads as completely original.
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

I loved the slow-building, claustrophobic atmosphere of dread in this one. It's such a start setting - men at sea on a cargo ship, miles from land. The ship has a bad reputation, and the men soon start to find out why as mysterious lights in the distance, shadowy figures on board, strange shapes below the waves and inexplicable deaths start to pile up. The dense nautical jargon adds to the effect, to the authenticity of the voice and in contrasting the workaday practicality of professional
Camille Stein
Cuento coral donde el mar se nos muestra como espacio cerrado y opresivo, enigmático receptáculo de lo desconocido y ominoso. Aunque la profusión de términos náuticos y terminología marinera hace naufragar algunos de los momentos de mayor tensión dramática, Hodgson posee la capacidad para sugerir lo invisible, para situarnos en la piel y en los ojos de quien observa y cree descubrir poco a poco las sutilezas de tragedias venideras, desgranando racionalmente hechos que paulatinamente se descubren ...more
Another horror/fantasy blend. There's not much by way of explanation in this one: the first line of the first chapter kind of sums it up: "He began without any circumlocution." Hodgson builds up the setting quite well, the slow beginning of the supernatural events and the spreading fear and paranoia. There's a lot of concrete detail about life on board a ship that serves to make it very much like realism, and then all hell breaks loose. The hows and whys of it aren't explained, only the events. ...more
I first read this book in the 80s and had fond memories of it. Having just re-read it (Dec 09), I was pleasantly surprised that it was every bit as good as I remembered it.

Having been published in 1905, this is not a graphic horror story, rather it is an atmospheric supernatural tale that builds tension through hints and suggestions; half-seen, half-imagined horrors. That the author, Hodgson, was in the British Navy for several years adds to the realism of his depiction of life aboard a sailing
A voyage on a sailing ship is beset by ghostly happenings that impinge more and more upon the daily life of the crew. I thought it would be just my cup of tea but, all in all, it didn't really work for me.

Such a story as this needs a well crafted atmosphere and a careful buildup of tension that I feel was somewhat lacking here. I also found it difficult to visualise what was happening some of the time due to the heavy use of nautical terminology. I imagine you may well get more out of this book
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My favorite band of all time (right now), Into Another, has a song called William on their best album Ignaurus. It's a song about William Hope Hodgson. So since I love this band, this album, and this song, yet have not read any of his books, I started reading this one.

It's definitely an old book, but easy and fun to read. but candidly, if it didn't have this connection to Into Another I wouldn't really be stoked on it
Scott Whitney
I started reading this one thinking it would be just another pirate book that would be entertaining for a little while. The first break I had to take from reading had me thinking about the book for a while. I picked it up as soon as I could again. My next break I had to take was under protest, I had to finish this book. I stayed up late into the night to get to the last page. A very good read.
Jason Mills
May 19, 2014 Jason Mills rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror buffs and sailors
This story takes the form of a sailor's account of an increasingly spooky voyage, around the end of the nineteeth century. On watch one night a boy thinks he sees a figure hiding in the shadows, and then our narrator himself glimpses an unnatural stranger crossing the deck. The incidents escalate in frequency and significance, horrifying in due course the entire crew.

Two of Hodgson's four novels eschew dialogue entirely, so it's surprising to find that this one is built around the worried conver
Another suspenseful novel by Hodgson involving ordinary people against quasi-demonic hordes. My big complaint with this book is that clearly Hodgson is an accomplished seaman, and he doesn't dumb down the jargon for readers not familiar with sailing vessels. Consequently, I couldn't fully follow the action; I could only get a general sense of what was going on.
A lot of the language, nautical terms the men use in describing the ship, were lost on me, but you can get a good idea of what he's talking about, even if you've never set foot on a ship. Chilling in the overt evil, and the men's loss of control of their own fate.
This freaky novel is now in the public domain, with a free electronic copy available here.
A classic ghost story, great for readers of short books, scary but not heart-attack scary. Can probably read in a day or two, I did.
Neil Macdonald
I was not sure how much I would enjoy this book, although admittedly this was based solely on the title and 'rear cover summary' as I had not heard of this author before.

Suffice to say I have been suitably impressed, and I will be seeking out more William Hope Hodgson in the future.

The short novel is set entirely upon a 19th Century merchant vessel, and is seen through the eyes of one of the crew. The author's obvious intimate knowledge of such vessels and the atmosphere he builds through it tur
What a super cool book. If a book was written today and called "The Ghost Pirates", you know it would be absolutely horrible. I'd have to assume it would either be a cliche filled steampunk/hipster/gonzo comedy or a horrendous YA melodrama about a pirate that was not only a ghost, but also the last descendant of a royal line that was wronged by a false pretender to his throne. While he battles to clear his family name, come back from the dead, be a ghost pirate, and other sundry things, he falls ...more
While the plot and characterizations are fairly simple by today's standards, the sense of dread created is superb, far creepier than any H. P. Lovecraft I've read. It is surprisingly more chilling than I would have expected from a novel written in 1909.

Others have mentioned the nautical terminology being a stumbling block, but it is not crucial to the story. For all I know a poop deck is just a part of the ship that winds up under an albatross at the wrong time, but none of that bothers me in t
Another delightful tale of nautical horror from William Hope Hodgson.
An old ghost story, which is well worth a read.
As with "The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig'", William Hope Hodgson makes excellent use of his experience as a sailor, serving up an atmospheric ghost story. Apart from the nautical theme, however, "The Ghost Pirates" is a very different book from "The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig'", and in some ways an inferior one.

The highlights of this book are without a doubt the dialogue and the atmosphere. "The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig'" lacked any spoken dialogue, so its inclusion here is a nice change. The jarg
R. B. Kiernan
The Ghost Pirates has been described by horror writer Robert Weinberg as "one of the finest examples of the tightly written novel ever published." This is among the reasons I chose to read this novel.

Indeed, this is an excellent example of a horror novel that can thoroughly tell its story in an even-toned and steady pace, accomplishing more in fewer pages than most novels in its genre can accomplish in a much longer format. It is a classic tale of a haunted ship, made more authentic by its seaf
Dian Cronan
I loved this book. It's a great combination of classic literature and ghost story. It was actually scary - and I'm pretty hard to scare. You may find some of the vocabulary to be a challenge, particularly if you do not know a lot about sailing or ships. I kept a dictionary handy.
Michael J. Kuchinski
Extremely entertaining

Chose this book because I enjoy reading about the sea and spirits. Both were combined quite well in this book. Had trouble putting it down. Extremely entertaining and captivating. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good ghost story.
Hodgson's extensive use of nautical terminology makes this novel a challenging read for anyone not well-versed in the subject. The narrative itself is not terribly horrifying or suspenseful, though it does manage to capture some of the apprehension involved in a mysterious haunting. Hodgson's attempts at emulating the characters' dialect also detract from the work and slow down the reader's comprehension of the plot. For the general horror fan constrained solely to reading this author, I would r ...more
Brian Hastings
A strange story that does not fit into any particular sub-genre. A dark sea story with the same feel Blackwood's "The Willows" has.
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William Hope Hodgson was an English author. He produced a large body of work, consisting of essays, short fiction, and novels, spanning several overlapping genres including horror, fantastic fiction, and science fiction. Early in his writing career he dedicated effort to poetry, although few of his poems were published during his lifetime. He also attracted some notice as a photographer and achiev ...more
More about William Hope Hodgson...
The House on the Borderland Carnacki, the Ghost Finder The Night Land The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig' The Collected Fiction, Vol. 2: The House on the Borderland and Other Mysterious Places

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