Book Review: Tales of the Pirate Gospel by Andrew Moody

Title: Tales of the Pirate Gospel, A somewhat free retelling of the Gospel of Mark

Author: Andrew Moody

Publisher: Brightmettle Press, Digital Publishing, 2015, 72 pages

Copy Source: purchased as an Amazon Kindle ebook (currently published in digital format only)

I heard about Tales of the Pirate Gospel through a YouTube video, made by a friend of the author. I purchased the book fully expecting to enjoy it, and I did, though I quickly discovered that I have an unexpectedly low saturation point when it comes to pirate-ese.

There were many things to like about this retelling, including the titles of the chapters such as Of His First Appearin’ and Through the Jaws o Death. The rewording of the parables into pirate tales were a high point, and I enjoyed the dialogue in particular.  Periodically, a graphic illustration is inserted (a “verse” along with a black silhouette), enhancing and repeating a key passage.

Being a “somewhat free retelling,” as explained in the author’s preface, there are differences between this and the original that go beyond grammar. The geography of the region is altered to fit the retelling, making it possible for Jesus to be the Capt’n of the World as well as the capt’n of a sailing vessel which transports him and his twelve “officers” from city to city. There is a Map of Pirate Judea at the end of the book which shows the geography as used in this retelling, as well as in the publisher’s book trailer:

All of the major players are included, such as John the Baptizer and Judas the dagger man. The Gospel is still the same in essentials, just put through a pirate filter and stirred up a bit to make it work as a pirate tale.

While some verses are left out, there were no theological issues that I noticed (though not a theologian, I can claim a lifetime of familiarity and many readings of the original KJV text). The one point where I was unsure, I looked at the source material and found that I had been thinking of another of the Gospels.

I purchased Tales of the Pirate Gospel thinking that it would be a fun shared reading with my 13 year old nephew. And while he humored me for a chapter, he let me know that it would be perfect to read to younger kids. He also mentioned his surprise that it was amusing rather than funny. I agreed on both counts.

4/5 stars – though I had to take this short book in small doses, it is an amusing and clever retelling of the Gospel of Mark.

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