In the first-ever comprehensive survey of the world's female buccaneers, Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas tells of the women, both real and legendary, who through the ages sailed alongside—and sometimes in command of—their male counterparts. These women came from all walks of life but had one thing in common: a desire for freedom. History has largely ignored these female swashbucklers, until now. Here are their stories, from ancient Norse warriors like Awilda, Stikla, and Rusla; to Sayyida al-Hurra of the Barbary corsairs; from Grace O'Malley, who terrorized shipping operations around the British Isles during the reign of Queen Elizabeth; to Cheng I Sao, who commanded a fleet of 400 ships off China in the early 19th century.Author Laura Sook Duncombe also looks beyond the stories to the storytellers and mythmakers. What biases and agendas motivated them? What did they leave out? Pirate Women explores why and how these stories are told and passed down and how history changes depending on who is recording it. It's the largest overview of women pirates in one volume and chock-full of swashbuckling adventures. In this book, pirate women are pulled from the shadows into the spotlight that they deserve.