The Pyrates is a swashbuckling farce. It's as if GMF wrote a book about a pirate movie instead of any real, or imagined adventure. The characters are mere caricatures and the story is chock-full of anachronisms. All this was deliberate, to either entertain the reader or defy historical novel writing conventions.
I'm a fan of GMF's Flashman series and I found The Pyrates entertaining, but a bit annoying at the same time, primarily due to the anachronisms I just mentioned. In the parts where the author is adressing the reader, I thought this technique was funny and refreshing: Such as using 20th Century movie stars to describe the characters and fight scenes in cinematic, choreographic terms. But I found it jarring when things, such as: Credit cards, headphones, outboard motors and condo time-shares are placed in the action itself, or the characters mention such items outside their timeframe.
In short, I feel GMF overdid the anachronism schtick.
I must admit though, a lot of my feelings about the book are based on my bias. While I like a good comedic movie, I'm not a huge fan of spoofs and The Pyrates would certainly fall into this category if it were ever made into a film. To me, spoofs are "one trick ponies." You watch, you laugh, you never view it again--unless it was produced by Monty Python or Mel Brooks (exceptions to the rule and all that).
So I'm giving The Pyrates a three star rating--it's first on Amazon.com. It's a good yarn and you can tell GMF had fun writing it.
As to the rest of the ratings:
Out of 33 reviews so far, a whopping 30 are 4 & 5 star ratings. The remaining trio are 1 & 2-star reviewers who didn't care for the book at all.
And as an aside:
It is said that you can't judge a book by it's cover. Well, with the latest editions of The Pyrates you almost can't...
Do I detect a hint of political correctness maybe? Especially when compared to an older, alternative cover...
You can't say you don't know what you're getting into with a cover like this!