Fiction & Poetry, Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Hardback Published on: 25/04/2024
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Bookseller Reviews

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"These are the first days of the first republic of salt"
I received a proof copy of this book from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. In short, I loved it, and will be recommending to so... READ MORE
Meg at Solihull
The sea goes in and out like breath...
I do not read historical fiction, but as I have a strong fascination with pirates (especially female pirates!), I could not resist a novel about Mary Read.... READ MORE
Isobel Holmes
Reading this felt like going on a fantastic journey
An evocative tale of piracy and the tenacity of women living life beyond the bounds of “normal”. This is a fantastic novel I didn’t want to stop reading. T... READ MORE
Olivia Gomersall
Pirates, Crows, and Complicated Throuples
This is a really enjoyable book and totally immerses you in Mary Read’s story. I loved the development of her character throughout the book and felt as if ... READ MORE
Leigh  Boyle


In a rented room outside Plymouth in 1685, a daughter is born as her half-brother is dying. Her mother makes a decision: Mary will become Mark, and Ma will continue to collect his inheritance money.

Mary’s dual existence as Mark will lead to a role as a footman in a grand house, serving a French mistress; to the navy, learning who to trust and how to navigate by the stars; and to the army and the battlegrounds of Flanders, finding love among the bloodshed and the mud. But none of this will stop Mary yearning for the sea.

Drawn back to the water, Mary must reinvent herself yet again, for a woman aboard a ship is a dangerous thing. This time Mary will become something more dangerous than a woman.

She will become a pirate.

Breathing life into the Golden Age of Piracy, Saltblood is a wild adventure, a treasure trove, weaving an intoxicating tale of gender and survival, passion and loss, journeys and transformation, through the story of Mary Read, one of history’s most remarkable figures.

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • ISBN: 9781526661333
  • Number of pages: 368
  • Dimensions: 234 x 153 mm

Customer Reviews

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An wholesome real pirate story
My very first ARC with NetGalley. This book covers the very interesting life of Mary Reads, a woman pirate that lived in the 1700s, and how she came to be... READ MORE
Alice Baglietto
Right up my street!
From the blurb around this new novel by Francesca De Tores I knew this would be right up my street. I was not disappointed. I loved the characters and the ... READ MORE
Viv Rogan
The enduring quest for freedom and the Golden Age of Piracy
A good historical fiction will leave you satisfied. A great historical fiction will leave you hungry to learn more about the time-period. This is a great h... READ MORE
Crashing Wave of Seafaring Adventure
This book is an absolutely crashing wave of seafaring, piracy and womanhood based on the life of a real woman pirate, Mary Read— written in an impeccable s... READ MORE
Agnes Monod-Gayraud
Fascinating historical fiction
A fascinating historical fiction novel (although from other information, the story of Mary Read sticks to the known facts - which I like). Mary starts h... READ MORE
I don't really want to review this book, because doing so means I have to finally admit I've finished it!
I don't really want to review this book, because doing so means I have to finally admit I've finished it! I loved this, I'm queer, I'm pirate obsessed, ... READ MORE
Jenny Blacker
Epic storytelling
The book follows Mary Read's extraordinary journey, from her unconventional childhood being forced to take on the person of her brother Mark, to her darin... READ MORE
Catherine Tempany
Literary fiction rather than swashbuckling adventure
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, Bloomsbury Publishing, for a digital ARC of this book. I have chosen to write this honest review voluntarily. Sal... READ MORE
In a Bookish Mood
Mary Read: sailor, soldier, pirate
When Mary’s older brother dies when he is just a toddler, she is raised as a boy in his place. As she grows up, she maintains the male identity and the nam... READ MORE