Having read “Shadow Divers,” I was expecting another gripping read in “Pirate Hunters.” Unfortunately, this book is nothing like “Shadow Divers.” It relies far more on the fame of the two protagonists than it does on an interesting story line. In fact, the reality is, there is no story line! The book meanders between the protagonists’ backstory and information on pirate ships and other treasure hunters. Many of the meetings the protagonists have with the treasure hunters of old don’t seem to have a purpose either. Each time a chapter ended I found myself wondering what the point of the chapter was. Worse still, when they do discover the Golden Fleece right at the end, not much is made of the discovery. A whole book about the Golden Fleece and we hardly get to hear about what it looked like underwater, how they felt, what they brought up, all the wonderful juicy details that I thought the research was leading to. A huge let down.

In all honesty I feel like the author wasn’t sure who the target audience would be. It certainly wasn’t divers as in spite of the fact that diving happens, there is not much diving that is described, which is a real let down given he was so good at writing about it in “Shadow Divers.” It wasn’t historians either as although the history did get the most attention, it wasn’t a book about pirates researched in depth. Maybe it was fans of Mattera and Chatterton?

The other thing that really bothered me were the many pointless trips back and forth to the States. I’m not sure why these were kept in the point as they served no purpose. At some point the whole book just felt like Kurson retelling the story he had been told instead of actually making it into a story third parties would want to read about, regardless of Chatterton and Mattera’s fame.

In summary I really would have just appreciated a story arc, and more showing instead of telling. I like Kursons’s writing in general but this book felt like a mish mash of things.

Written by Candice Landau
I'm a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor, a lover of marine life and all efforts related to marine conservation, a tech diver and a member of various scuba organizations in the Pacific Northwest. I write articles related to diving and spend my non-diving time writing and providing digital marketing services to nonprofits and businesses.