Piratica, by Tanith Lee

Tanith Lee has written something like fifty books, this primarily for adults, but in the last ten years or so, she’s been writing quite a few for young adults. I first encountered her YA books with the early ones, which were titled Black Unicorn, Gold Unicorn, and Red Unicorn. A good deal of what she writes for adults is in the dark fantasy or borderline horror realm, and there were some odd things about those books (although they were very pretty). She is British, and not the daughter of Bernard Lee (“M”, from the first fifteen or so James Bond movies), although Wikipedia insists that’s a persistent rumor. (Not one I’ve heard.)

Miss Artemisia Faith (or Fitz-Willoughby Weatherhouse) is a student in a girls’ school in an alternate England, around the turn of the nineteenth century. She was not terribly miserable there, until one day when she hits her head and it jogs all her memories loose: memories of her mother, Molly Faith, called Piratica — the greatest female pirate of her day. Now, of course, she’s miserable in a place that makes her powder over the streak in her hair; that makes her walk around with a book on her head in a dress when she should be taking over her mother’s position (Molly passed away, which was how she got stuck in that school). She escapes pretty easily, and now her goal is to get the band (the pirate troupe) back together. Continue reading Piratica, by Tanith Lee