The Search for the Golden FleeceeBook - 2014
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY CHICAGO TRIBUNE • A thrilling adventure of danger and deep-sea diving, historic mystery and suspense, by the author of Shadow Divers
Finding and identifying a pirate ship is the hardest thing to do under the sea. But two men—John Chatterton and John Mattera—are willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. At large during the Golden Age of Piracy in the seventeenth century, Bannister should have been immortalized in the lore of the sea—his exploits more notorious than Blackbeard’s, more daring than Kidd’s. But his story, and his ship, have been lost to time. If Chatterton and Mattera succeed, they will make history—it will be just the second time ever that a pirate ship has been discovered and positively identified. Soon, however, they realize that cutting-edge technology and a willingness to lose everything aren’t enough to track down Bannister’s ship. They must travel the globe in search of historic documents and accounts of the great pirate’s exploits, face down dangerous rivals, battle the tides of nations and governments and experts. But it’s only when they learn to think and act like pirates—like Bannister—that they become able to go where no pirate hunters have gone before.
Fast-paced and filled with suspense, fascinating characters, history, and adventure, Pirate Hunters is an unputdownable story that goes deep to discover truths and souls long believed lost.
Praise for Pirate Hunters
“You won’t want to put [it] down.”—Los Angeles Times
“An exceptional adventure . . . Highly recommended to readers who delight in adventure, suspense, and the thrill of discovering history at their fingertips.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“A terrific read . . . The book gallops along at a blistering pace, shifting us deftly between the seventeenth century and the present day.”—Diver
“Nonfiction with the trademarks of a novel: the plots and subplots, the tension and suspense . . . [Kurson has] found gold.”—The Dallas Morning News
“Rollicking . . . a fascinating [story] about the world of pirates, piracy, and priceless treasures.”—The Boston Globe
“[Kurson’s] narration is just as engrossing as the subject.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“A wild ride [and an] extraordinary adventure . . . Kurson’s own enthusiasm, combined with his copious research and an eye for detail, makes for one of the most mind-blowing pirate stories of recent memory, one that even the staunchest landlubber will have a hard time putting down.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The two contemporary pirate-ship seekers of Mr. Kurson’s narrative are as daring, intrepid, tough and talented as Blood and Sparrow—and Bannister. . . . As depicted by the author, they are real-life Hemingway heroes.”—The Wall Street Journal
“[Kurson] takes his knowledge of the underwater world and applies it to the ‘Golden Age of Piracy’ . . . thrillingly detailing the highs and lows of chasing not just gold and silver but also history.”—Booklist
“A great thriller full of tough guys and long odds . . . and: It’s all true.”—Lee Child
From the Hardcover edition.
Baker & Taylor
Traces the high-stakes quest of John Mattera and Shadow Divers' Chatterton to find the lost pirate ship of Joseph Bannister, discussing their teamwork with technology-eschewing Tracy Bowden and the story behind Bannister's elusive treasure. By a New York Times best-selling author.
From the critics
SummaryAdd a Summary
Ahoy, mateys! If you are looking for the perfect summer read, be it porch, beach or hammock, look no farther. The latest from Robert Kurson (author of Shadow Divers) has it all… adventure, exotic locales, and the mysterious, unbelievable history of the most infamous pirate you’ve never heard of – John Bannister. “John who?”, you ask? Bannister. A respected gentleman and merchant sailor who turned rogue and managed to plunder, rob and fight his way into not very many history books. His ship, The Golden Fleece, was also unknown to all but a few, scuttled after a skirmish with the British Royal Navy in which Bannister once again escaped.
Chatterton, a former host of the History Channel’s Deep Sea Detectives, and Mattera, a former bodyguard with nearly three decades of deep-sea diving under his belt, decided to go after The Golden Fleece when another legendary treasure-hunter, 69-year old Tracy Bowden, let them in on Bannister’s tale. The ship might hold gold doubloons or nothing at all, but it was the genuine article – a pirate ship from the golden age of Caribbean piracy in the late 1680’s. We’re talking Captain Jack Sparrow kind of escapades, without the curses of course – but even so this account of finding the Golden Fleece reads like an action film.
This is partly because Kurson details part of Chatterton and Mattera’s colourful lives. Chatterton served as a medic in Vietnam; Mattera, once in trouble with known crime families in New York City then became a police officer. These stories have little to do with the treasure hunt, until you realize that back in the day, Chatterton and Mattera just may have been pirates themselves. Kurson also takes us back to what it might have been like to sail the Caribbean in the 17th century, describing in detail a hypothetical battle with a pirate ship and the ensuing chaos.
The men spent 2 long years and nearly everything they had in search of Bannister and his Golden Fleece. The search took them from New York to Miami, from the Dominican Republic to Spain and back again, searching through hundreds of documents, many of which had not been handled in centuries. And in the end…
Well, you’ll just have to read this exciting tale yourself. Seek ye a copy of Pirate Hunters at ye olde public librarie under the code, “Shelf Life reviewed”.
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