It's 'Talk Like A Pirate Day' - second only to 'Christmas Day' in the fun stakes as far as we're concerned - so to celebrate, we've rounded up 8 of the most fearsome seadogs to ever to order anyone to walk the plank in literature.
From characters like Captain Hook and Long John Silver who helped shape the idea of what a pirate does and looks like in the minds of the entire world, to the more obscure sea tyrants who exist on the fringes of some of the greatest adventure books written, this is a who's who of fictional pirates.
Which is your favourite? Is there anyone we've missed? Let us know below, me hearties!
Long John Silver - Treasure Island
The one-legged quartermaster from Treasure Island is your quintessential cunning seadog - a man who appears friendly and kind but will ruthlessly cut down even his own crew if they get in his way. Robert Louis Stevenson's classic also feature several real-life pirates, including Blackbeard and Edward England.
Comfortably the most famous pirate in literature, J. M Barrie wrote the stereotype that has inspired countless children and unimaginative adults looking for a fancy dress costume ever since. Peter Pan's hook-handed antagonist, captain of the Jolly Roger, fears nothing but the sight of his own blood and the crocodile that took his hand. In the original play version of the tale, however, Hook was only a bit-part character. IMAGE: PA
Ragnar Danneskjöld - Atlas Shrugged
Comfortably our favourite female pirate, Bêlit is the fearsome but alluring anti-heroine from one of Robert E. Howard's first short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, who becomes the protagonist's lover after sparing him during a massacre.
Dread Pirate Roberts - The Princess Bride
Perhaps the most fearsome and brutal pirate on our list, Dread Pirate Roberts is known across the seven seas as a peerless swordfighter and massacre-happy tyrant. Actually, Roberts is not one character but a persona passed on to each generation's most vicious pirate - something that helps cement his mythical reputation. However the Roberts in William Goldman's 1973 fantasy novel does show some empathy by sparing the life of protagonist Westley.
The Salé Rovers - Robinson Crusoe
Poor old Crusoe's troubles really begin when, having already survived a ship wreck, his second voyage is taken over by Salé pirates and he ends up enslaved by a Moor. Daniel Defoe's 1917 novel is famous for its pirates but features a whole host of nasties, including cannibals and hungry wolves.
William Legrand and Captain Kidd - The Gold-Bug
Edgar Allen Poe's (pictured) 1843 short story followed the adventures of Legrand, a man searching for long-lost treasure buried by the notorious pirate Captain Kidd - a reak-life Scottish sailor who was executed for piracy in 1701. The Gold-Bug was popular among the public but was savaged by critics - a typical experience for Poe, who wasn't truly appreciated as a writer until after his death. IMAGE: PA
Ahab - Moby Dick
Although strictly just captain of a whaling ship, Herman Melville 's Captain Ahab shares many of the traits of the typical pirate. He is also one of the most terrifying, complex and studied characters in American literature. Obsessed with getting his revenge on the giant whale of the book's title, Ahab is a tyrant and monomaniac who dooms his crew in dogged pursuit of his own ends.
Ragnar Danneskjöld - Atlas Shrugged
Ayn Rand's magnum opus from 1957 envisions a America in which creatives goes on strike against taxation and the government. The character of Ragnar Danneskjöld sails the seas reclaiming their income tax - an usual pursuit for a pirate, though it is in the form of gold. Danneskjöld actual appearances in the <em>Atlas Shrugged </em> are relatively brief, but his presence is felt throughout.