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A Modern Buccaneer

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Country  Australia
Publisher  Macmillan, London
Media type  Print
Originally published  1894
Genre  Fiction

Language  English
Publication date  1894
Pages  338pp
Author  Thomas Alexander Browne
Followed by  Plain Living
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Similar  Robbery Under Arms, The squatter's dream, In Bad Company and Other, The ghost camp, War to the knife

A Modern Buccaneer (1894) is a novel by Australian writer Rolf Boldrewood.


Story outline

Set in the South Pacific, this novel is written in the form of an autobiography, told by Hilary Telfer. Fascinated by tales of sailors and South Sea Traders, he leaves Sydney at the age of seventeen to take up a life at sea. The novel follows his adventures and provides a commentary on the trade between the islands and the practice of "blackbirding" that was rife at the time.

The "buccanneer" of the title is Bully Hayes, an American-born ship's captain, on whose ship Telfer finds himself.

Critical reception

A reviewer in The Australian Star expressed an initial wariness with the novel, given that the author had moved his focus from bushrangers to buccanneers but "it was well for one who, whether by personal visitation or reading, or intercourse with island men, had made himself familiar with the facts of the island life to weave them into such a romance as people of to-day and to-morrow would read, and possibly remember, and as would help them to an understanding of things as they are or have been. This task Rolf Boldrewood has essayed, and very fairly accomplished...All in all, it may be said that the story, tale, narrative, sketch — we scarce know how to classify it — is plentiful in incident, and warm as it should be in color."

On the other hand a reviewer in The Australian Town and Country Journal thought Boldrewood should have stayed with what he knew: "He should stick to his stories of the Australian bush, and of the people whom he knows so much about, and avoid dealing with buccaneers either ancient or modern. He is singularly unqualified for such a subject, and talks of nautical matters in a way which smacks too decidedly of mere amateur, and in fact mere make belief enthusiasm."


A Modern Buccaneer Wikipedia

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