Caught up in all of last week's broadcast TV next season announcements, we missed this: NBC has ordered a new series from Luther creator, Neil Cross, which will be an adaptation of Colin Woodard's book The Republic of Pirates, which is set in the 1700s during what is known as the "Golden Age of Piracy."
The historical period spans from the 1650s to the 1730s, and covers three separate "outbursts of piracy," all taking place primarily in the Caribbean, the West African coast, and Indian Ocean – so you know what means :)
Or maybe this synopsis of the book will spell it out for ya:
The untold story of a heroic band of Caribbean pirates whose defiance of imperial rule inspired revolt in colonial outposts across the world. In the early eighteenth century, the Pirate Republic was home to some of the great pirate captains, including Blackbeard, "Black Sam" Bellamy, and Charles Vane. Along with their fellow pirates – former sailors, indentured servants, and runaway slaves – this "Flying Gang" established a crude but distinctive democracy in the Bahamas, carving out their own zone of freedom in which servants were free, blacks could be equal citizens, and leaders were chosen or deposed by a vote. They cut off trade routes, sacked slave ships, and severed Europe from its New World empires, and for a brief, glorious period the Republic was a success.
Intrigued, right? I don't think you have to be a historian to be. That description should tell you plenty.
Of course, how exactly NBC plans to adapt this is a mystery at the moment; I havent read the book unfortunately, but I just ordered a copy for myself on Amazon. It says there was only 1 left in paperback. And after I read it, I'll post my thoughts on the material here… some time before the series debuts, whenever that will be.
NBC apparently has full confidence in it, already ordering 10 episodes; so by all accounts, it's a go.
Given Cross' work on Luther, I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what he does with this… and I'll have an even better idea once I've read the original.
But I'm of course assuming that there'll be some work in this for black actors – both in starring and supporting roles.
All you history buffs familiar with this particular subject matter, feel free to chime in.