Pirate Queen: The Legend of Grace O'Malley

By Tony Lee

Illustrated by Sam Hart

A captivating retelling of the story of Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Ireland.

Grace is a true daughter of the fearsome O’Malley clan, and while still a child she yearns to help her father fight to keep Henry VIII’s invading English armies out of Ireland. But battlefields are not seen as places for women, and for years she must sit idly at home while her father and her husband march off to defend their homeland. When English conspirators brutally murder her husband, though, Grace will remain idle no longer. She herself leads men into battle on the high seas, where her prowess as a sailor and her ability with a sword quickly gain her a reputation as The Pirate Queen of Ireland. But this reputation will place her own life and the lives of her entire family in danger, and will lead her to confront the most powerful woman in England, Queen Elizabeth I.

Categories: Graphic Novel

For readers aged: 9+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781406347357
  • Published: 04 Apr 2019
  • Price: £9.99
  • Size: 247 x 171 mm
  • Pages: 128

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Customer reviews


'Through this tale, Lee portrays the sixteenth-century Pirate Queen of Ireland as a ruthless, cunning, and capable leader, which Hart captures through her flaming red hair and strong facial expressions and gestures. Deep, black shadows dramatize the characters’ features, and lines streak across the page during the bright, vivid battle sequences, adding to the chaos. Although O’Malley is an undeniably fierce heroine, neither the story nor the illustrations over-romanticize her. She conquers the seas and wields two swords, but she also experiences the grittiness of war. The exciting biography, the fourth in Lee and Hart’s Heroes and Heroines series, will encourage teens to learn more about O’Malley, pirates, and Irish-English history, but it will also make them examine the qualities they can expect from laudable leaders' Biz Hyzy, Booklist

'This is a great swashbuckling romp with an indomitable female hero which may well lead some young people into a greater engagement with the romance of history. And if not it will at least keep them well-entertained.' Enda O’Doherty, Dublin Review of Books

'This graphic novel, designed for middle-grade readers, is characterized by brilliant and vivid artwork and a thrilling story closely based on actual historical events. English Lord Richard Bingham is the perfect sinister and murderous villain to offset the valor and patriotism of Grace and other rebellious Irish leaders. The book has the feel of an exciting animated movie. Discerning girls and boys may end up disdaining the made-up farcical and cartoonish “superwomen” of film, television and video games and come to appreciate the infinitely more impressive and thrilling women of actual history. Heartily recommended.' Historical Novel Society

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