Kingston by Starlight
By Christopher John Farley
(Three Rivers Press, Paperback, 9781400082452, 336pp.)
Publication Date: June 28, 2005
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Irish-born Anne Bonny is only a teenager when she is left destitute by her mother’s death. Abandoned by her father, she seems destined to be forgotten by the world. But Anne chooses to seek her fortune in the lush tropics of the colonial West Indies, where she passes herself off as a young man named Bonn. She finds work as a ship’s hand, sailing under the command of Calico Jack Rackam, a notorious and charismatic pirate with a bounty on his head. Calico Jack has his heart set on raiding the Madrid Galleon, the richest ship in the Caribbean, which sails from Kingston laden with Cuban gold and Jamaican rum.
Bonn is entranced by the sea and by the ship’s violent crew, which includes a mysterious swordfighter named Read, who, it turns out, has a secret life of his own. Calico Jack soon discovers Bonn’s and Read’s true identities, but it is only when the three pirates are captured that their darkest secrets begin to surface. In the shadow of the gallows, a strange twist of fate reveals a shocking betrayal that may save Bonn from death, while permanently changing everything she has known about her past and the world around her.
Gorgeously written and full of mystery, intrigue, and startling revelations about gender, race, history, and the human heart, Kingston by Starlight is a once-in-a-lifetime read.
Christopher John Farley was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and now lives in New York. He is a senior editor at Time magazine.
“Kingston by Starlight is an extraordinary achievement. Filled with heart-racing voyages, exploits, and adventures—not to mention extraordinarily vivid and elegant prose—it surprises and amazes you at every turn. I could not put it down.” —Edwidge Danticat, author of The Dew Breaker
“What makes this different from all other novels I’ve read recently is the writing—superbly poetic. There are sentences and passages that make you want to stop and read them again and again. There are Caribbean colors that will swim through your head long after you’ve put the book down.” —Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes