The Ghost Pirates

Continuing with my William Hope Hodgson exploration, I read The Ghost Pirates which is the final novel in what he considered to be a loose trilogy (starting with The Boats of the Glen Carrig and The House on the Borderland).

Lovecraft said of the novel:

"The Ghost Pirates . . . is a powerful account of a doomed and haunted ship on its last voyage, and of the terrible sea-devils (of quasi-human aspect, and perhaps the spirits of bygone buccaneers) that besiege it and finally drag it down to an unknown fate. With its command of maritime knowledge, and its clever selection of hints and incidents suggestive of latent horrors in nature, this book at times reaches enviable peaks of power."

That's a pretty impressive recommendation, and I expected to devour this book, but it was actually a bit slow going for me. I appreciated the precise maritime language, but the atmosphere of subtle, creeping dread never got to me. It was only at the very end of the book that I really became fascinated with the "sea-devils," and of course, that was the climax of the story, and then it was over.

That's not to say that I didn't appreciate Hodgson's idea. I'm generally fascinated by the sea and the presence of ghosts. The presentation of this particular novel just wasn't effective for me.