Sisters of the Sea by Sandra Riley and D.C. Copeland is based on her book which is available on and her website. The following excerpt from the screenplay recounts the legendary women pirates meeting for the first time and, like any great pirate story, cutlasses clash and blood spills. As the scene unfolds in a Nassau tavern in the summer of 1720, 27 year old Mary Read, who lives her life disguised as a man, has just been appointed helmsman for pirate captain Charles Vane. She's getting to know him and other crewman while sitting around a table and drinking. Included at the table are: George Fetherston, Vane's bosun, and Vane's Haitian lover Faustine, who is armed to the teeth-- like all the pirates-- and is "perched on his lap, her coffee-colored breasts escaping her laced bodice." 20 year old Anne Bonny arrives on the arm of part-time pirate and full-time entrepreneur and openly gay Henri Duplaissez. He has taken Anne under his wing after she dumped her husband James Bonny and took up pirating. She too is dressed like a man but everyone in Nassau knows that not only is she a woman, but a woman to be reckoned with. She never goes anywhere without her trusty rapier. This is the first time Mary sees her and is taken by her beauty. After a cautious look around the room, Henri escorts Anne to Vane's table.

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Captain Vane, zis is Anne Bonny.

Vane lifts his buttocks slightly off the chair and plops himself down again.

How do, Mistress.

George Fetherston.

Henri, taken by the handsome stranger, bows low.

(to Mary)
Henri Duplaissez, a votre service.

(bowing to Henri)
Matt Read. Bon soir, monsieur.

Allow me to present, Anne Bonny.

(kissing Anne’s hand)
Mistress Anne.

Compelled to look into each other’s eyes, Anne and Mary hold the moment longer than the situation warrants.

Come, drink with us.

As Vane pours the drinks, Henri turns from Mary to talk to Vane. Fetherston whispers to Mary.

I fear Henri has taken a fancy to you, Matt. Watch out. He doth
navigate the windward passage, if thee catches my meaning.

Mary laughs and continues to laugh as she turns to Anne.

Vane is fawning over Anne.

Faustine sees it and is growing agitated.

Vane's quartermaster John Rackam, a little tipsy, walks up to the table with a jug of rum in one hand, eyes on Anne. Later, when he becomes a captain of his own pirate ship, he'll become known as one of the most famous rogues of all time: Callico Jack.

Cap'n Vane, please honor me with an introduction.

Mistress Anne Bonny, meet my quartermaster, John Rackam.

Rackam kisses Anne’s hand and smiles.

A pleasure, Mistress.

Faustine, suddenly forgotten, jumps out of her chair. Vane rises quickly and snatches Faustine’s wrist. Faustine practically breathes fire in Anne’s direction.

Faustine, say bon soir to Mistress Bonny.

Vane pins Faustine’s arms to her sides. Faustine spits a torrent of foul words, in French, in Anne’s face.

Enraged Anne starts to draw her rapier.


(throwing Faustine into a chair)
Sit down, you she-devil.

Momentarily subdued, Faustine glares at Anne.

Forgive her rudeness, Mistress. Faustine be a woman of inordinate jealousies.

Best keep her indoors then, for I am a woman of small patience.
(sheaths rapier, prepares to leave)
Gentlemen, it's been a pleasure.

But my chérie, the party is just getting started.

Faustine struggles to free herself from Vane's hands.

Without me.

(getting up)
Anne, let me walk you back to--

Henri, I'm a big girl. Enjoy yourself.

She nods at Mary.

Henri's eyebrows start dancing as he touches Mary's hand. She pulls it away and looks at

Anne who is intercepted by Rackam who grabs her hand.

Mistress Anne, it is a rare pleasure when men of our persuasion
come across such a treasure as thee, and it disappoints me that you
may leave with the wrong impression because of the foul acts
of one of us.

Faustine shakes loose of Vane, whips out her cutlass and leaps across the table.

She rips off Anne’s tunic.

Anne pushes Rackam aside and draws her rapier.

Faustine swings her cutlass in every direction. Vane can't get close enough to her without getting sliced.

The people at the table move out of harm's way. Mary watches amazed at Anne’s rapier skill and the fact that she fights bare-breasted.

Faustine manages to bring her cutlass down on Anne’s rapier snapping it.

Anne weaves to evade the cutlass and looks for an opportunity to disarm Faustine.

Mary tosses her sword to

Anne, who catches it in time to run it through Faustine.

Faustine is stunned. She staggers toward

Anne and grabs her wrist before falling dead to the floor.

Anne stares down at the bloody figure before turning to find her tunic. She wipes Mary’s sword blade with purpose.

The spanish sword and smell of blood evoke memories of the Spaniards who killed Tombay* and her baby, but no matter how hard she wipes it, tears well up in her eyes.

Mary approaches and speaks softly to Anne.

’Tis done, Mistress Anne.

Anne looks into Mary’s calm eyes finds her way back from that horror.

(returning Mary’s sword)
Thank you, Mister Read.
(to Vane)
I am sorry, Capt’n. I did not want to kill her.

You could scarce avoid it, Mistress.

(staring at Faustine's lifeless body)
God, what a wench. She be an entire Army.

Where is Henri?

(unable to suppress a laugh)
Here on the floor. It appears he has swooned.

You’ll not laugh at him. He is my friend. I will suffer no one to insult him.

No offense intended, Mistress Anne.

Anne helps Henri to his feet. He sees Faustine and gasps.

You, Anne Bonny, have done zis? Incroyable!
(feigning dizziness)
Ask ze handsome gentleman to help take me home.

You devil. You will proposition St. Peter at heaven’s gate.

Only if he is good looking.

Mary puts Henri’s cloak around Anne’s shoulders and helps her take Henri out of the tavern.

Jack takes a swig from the rum bottle and follows them.

Let me help you with that cloak.

*Tombay was Anne's freed slave lover. He and their baby were murdered by Spanish soldiers.

More screenplays by D.C. Copeland can be found here.