James Porter, Cockney fingersmith, sailor, adventurer, convict and chancer, led a colourful life until he was transported to the wild outpost of Van Diemen's Land, modern day Tasmania, in 1823. Never one for rules, he consequently suffered the miserable conditions of the chain gang until, following one of his many audacious escapes, the cunningly resourceful Porter and nine other convicts hijacked a ship and crossed the South Pacific to Chile. There they enjoyed a year's blissful refuge until betrayal led to discovery and recapture. Tried for piracy and condemned to death in Tasmania, his sentence was commuted to exile by the British government and Porter was sent to rot on Norfolk Island where his story was buried until now.
In the vein of her bestselling Floating Brothel, The Ship's Thieves is told in Rees' vividly evocative, superbly emotive prose which sets the reader adrift a salty tale of adventure on the high seas, and which is all the more enthralling for its flawless research and historical accuracy. Entertaining and accessible, Rees' fans will delight in this new gem.
Author: Sian Rees
Title: The Ship Thieves: The True Tale of James Porter, Colonial Pirate
First Published by: Aurum Press
Date: 2 February 2006