They're Cows We're Pigs
Leland H. Chambers
Publisher: Grove Press
A dark, thought-provoking adventure that “artfully evokes the blood-soaked reality of 17th-century pirates” (Entertainment Weekly).
This “wryly humorous, satiric, and often macabre novel” (Library Journal) follows Jean Smeeks, a Flemish thirteen-year-old who signs up as an indentured servant with the French West Indies Company, but instead winds up a slave on the notorious island of Tortuga. Over time, he learns the arts of herbal medicine and surgery—a skill that allows him to join a band of Caribbean pirates. Contrasting Jean’s romantic pull toward the “Brethren of the Coast”—an all-male society pursuing socialist, anti-colonialist ideals—with the brutal reality of their lawless existence, They’re Cows, We’re Pigs is a “unique and memorable” novel whose “pirate world leaves you as a good book should: thinking” (The Boston Herald).