This is the best book about bee keeping Pirates that I’ve read all year.
One of the fun things about keeping a reading list when you have diverse tastes is that you create all sorts of interesting juxtapositions. At first blush, reading The Pirates! In An Adventure With Napoleon right on the heels of King Lear would seem to be an amusing study in contrasts but, really, the two stories have many thematic links.
The Pirate Captain, stung by his recent defeat at The Pirate of The Year competition, retires to St Helena to raise bees. Within days of his arrival, Napoleon is deposed to the island sparking a bitter rivalry as the two noble men compete for the affections of St Helena’s residents, many of whom are goats. In many ways, this conflict is similar to the rivalry of Edgar and Edmund, each vying for the affection of their father, The Earl of Gloucester. (In this analogy, The Pirate Captain is Edgar, with his handsome, open face and stentorian nose, while that bastard Napoleon is Edmund.)
The story of Gloucester and his sons actually predates the story of King Lear, being drawn from Philip Sydney’s Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, an early draft of which appeared in 1570, whereas the tale of Lear was drawn from Raphael Holinshed’s The Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande, published in 1587 so, in a sense, you can say that The Pirates! In An Adventure With Napoleon is a story older and more timeless than King Lear.
The Pirates! In An Adventure With Napoleon is also highly recommended for anyone looking to learn more about bees, bee society and bee dancing. The following diagram illustrates some of the many interesting bee facts to be found in The Pirates! In An Adventure With Napoleon.