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The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi

Repeat author

Shannon Chakraborty is back at Book of the Month.

by Shannon Chakraborty

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Quick take

This swashbuckling pirate captain’s last hurrah will have you clutching for your spyglass, ready to hit the high seas.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Action


  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Series

    First in series

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Quest



Amina al-Sirafi should be content. After a storied and scandalous career as one of the Indian Ocean’s most notorious pirates, she’s survived backstabbing rogues, vengeful merchant princes, several husbands, and one actual demon to retire peacefully with her family to a life of piety, motherhood, and absolutely nothing that hints of the supernatural.

But when she’s tracked down by the obscenely wealthy mother of a former crewman, she’s offered a job no bandit could refuse: retrieve her comrade’s kidnapped daughter for a kingly sum. The chance to have one last adventure with her crew, do right by an old friend, and win a fortune that will secure her family’s future forever? It seems like such an obvious choice that it must be God’s will.

Yet the deeper Amina dives, the more it becomes alarmingly clear there’s more to this job, and the girl’s disappearance, than she was led to believe. For there’s always risk in wanting to become a legend, to seize one last chance at glory, to savor just a bit more power . . . and the price might be your very soul.

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Why I love it

There’s something about pirates. No matter the time period, form of media, or cultural milieu, there is a near-universal desire to be swept away into shimmery, roiling tides, to smell the salt on the wind, to feel the thrumming of the ocean under our feet. In our collective imagination, pirates are synonymous with adventure—the kind we all yearn to embark upon.

With her previous trilogy, S.A. Chakraborty established herself as one of the most beloved and essential contemporary voices in the fantasy genre. Now as she dips her toes (or rather, plunges headfirst) into the swashbuckling world of pirates, she carves out an even greater space in the hearts of readers.

All that is to say: I can’t imagine anyone who won’t be instantly besotted with The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi.

With her trademark attention to historical detail, Chakraborty transports us to a vivid and dangerous 14th-century Indian Ocean. Dry-witted and gutsy Amina is living in quasi-peaceful retirement with her young daughter when she is reluctantly pulled back into the game by a threat she can’t afford to ignore, and a mission she can’t seem to refuse.

Menaced by magical creatures (including a fiendishly charming demon) and haunted by follies of her past, Amina must solve ancient riddles, fend off monsters, and survive treacherous waters. But most compelling is how Amina contends with motherhood in all its myriad forms.

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi is an exhilarating, profound, and truly unforgettable adventure.

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