I'm reading Gideon Defoe's The Pirates! In an Adventure with Whaling. I had vaguely heard of Defoe's debut novel The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, but I had the impression that it was an annoyingly Pratchett-esque affair, filled with sub-sub-Blackadder similes (badly done wacky similes are the mark of true unfunniness). How wrong I was! The Pirates! In an Adventure with Whaling is funny. Very, very funny. The description of the new portraits in the Pirate Captain's cabin made me laugh so much I thought I was going to have an asthma attack (particularly the "black and white painting that showed him with his shirt off, tenderly cradling a baby" and the "one of him emerging from an old boot alongside a giant kitten"). The humour is more P. G. Wodehouse than Terry Pratchett, to my enormous relief, and even the pirates themselves sound more like Bertie Wooster than the expected "arrr!"ing cliches. A very pleasant surprise, which comes highly recommended.