The Pirate’s Bastard: Novel Brings 1700s in N.C. Coastal Towns to Life

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New novel brings life to coastal colonial North Carolina with a fresh look at shipbuilding, a lesser-known pirate, and how one man struggles to overcome his past.

This is an awesome story, added James Bartley, East Region Supervisor, N.C.Division of State Historic Sites N.C. Department of Cultural Resources

Go a-pirating this season with a new book now available from Kernersville-based publisher Second Wind Publishing. It’s titled The Pirate’s Bastard, and it is the debut novel by North Carolina writer Laura S. Wharton.

Working hard to distance his secret heritage from his present success as a shipbuilder, Edward Marshall’s future is filled with promise until his past confronts him. Ignatius Pell, boatswain to Edward’s errant pirate father, has a plan. It involves Edward’s personal ship that is under construction, a voyage back to Barbados, and hidden treasure once belonging to the pirate Stede Bonnet. But when Edward refuses to get involved, Pell uncorks his final offer: Edward must take him back to Barbados, or Pell will disclose Edward’s secret to the woman of his dreams and spoils his future.

Set primarily in coastal North Carolina in the 1700s, this story follows Edward on his mission to free himself of his past while weaving fact and fiction about the coast’s rich boatbuilding heritage and social mores of colonial life. When Edward sets sail for the Caribbean islands, a high-stakes battle at sea changes his life’s course, and forces him to confront his heritage – and his dead father’s choices.

“Laura Wharton seamlessly combines a wealth of historical information with the compelling story of Edward Marshall, a young man who attempts to overcome his disreputable heritage and make a life for himself at sea,” says Jane Tesh, author of three novels. “Dark secrets, tragedy, and a lively view of life in the 1700s make The Pirate's Bastard a welcome addition to the maritime history fiction genre.”

“This is an awesome story,” adds James Bartley, former site manager of historic Brunswick Town. He assisted Wharton during her six years of research for this book, and is now the East Region Supervisor, N.C. Division of State Historic Sites and Properties for the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

The Pirate’s Bastard is available through Wharton’s website,, and other fine booksellers, the publisher’s website, or through It’s also available on Kindle. Wharton is available for interviews and book signings.

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