More sword-rattling piracy on the high seas, this is the tale of the fierce Captain Teach, better known as Blackboard, who preyed on shipping from 1713-18 off North Carolina in his ship, Queen Anne's Kevenge. All the familiar timber-shivering devices for yarns of the Jolly Roger group are here- the hero's enforced service, the snarling pirate king, sea battles, mutiny, and dirty dealings in smuggled goods. Fourteen-year-old Ben Pugh, stepson of an eighteenth century ""black marketeer"" who bought from Blackboard, is abducted and forced to serve as a cabin boy on the pirate vessel. After an uneasy existence on board, and narrow escapes, Ben slips out of the clutches of Blackboard and witnesses his death. The historical figure of Blackboard is always a fascinating one, but here both character and action are not as vivid as one might expect from a pirate tale. Once the stage for action is set, the author races to the next episode with only casual treatment of the shootin'. A few atmospheric moments here, but it is not necessary to toss your Stevensons out the window. Use as a bridge from the comics, perhaps.