- "You Don't Know Jack. Yet."
- ―The Price of Freedom tagline[src]
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom is a prequel novel about the adventures of Jack Sparrow when he was in the employ of the East India Trading Company. Authored by A. C. Crispin, it was published in hardcover from Disney Editions , on May 17, 2011.
Twenty-five-year-old Jack Sparrow is a clean-cut merchant seaman pursuing a legitimate career as a first mate for the East India Trading Company. He sometimes thinks back to his boyhood pirating days, but he doesn't miss Teague's scrutiny or the constant threat of the noose. Besides, he doesn't have much choice—he broke the Code when he freed a friend who had been accused of rogue piracy, and he can no longer show his face in Shipwreck Cove.
When Jack's ship is attacked by pirates and his captain dies in the altercation, he suddenly finds himself in command. The wily sailor's skillful negotiations with the pirate captain—who turns out to be a woman from his past—result in a favorable outcome that puts Jack in line for an official promotion.
After making port in Africa, Jack is summoned by Cutler Beckett, who makes him captain of a ship called the Wicked Wench. Beckett gives Jack an assignment. He has heard a legend about a magical island named Zerzura whose labyrinthine bowels are said to contain a glorious treasure. Beckett suspects that one of his house slaves, a girl named Ayisha, is from Zerzura. He asks Jack to take her along on his voyage and seduce her into divulging the island's whereabouts. In payment for his services, Beckett promises Jack a share of the treasure.
But this task isn't as easy as Jack initially believes. Before she agrees to reveal the location of her home, Ayisha insists that Jack take her to the New World to rescue her brother, who has been sold into slavery in the Bahamas. Their voyage is long and arduous, and as they weather a vicious storm and a surprise attack from an old pirate foe, Jack grows to respect and admire Ayisha's bravery. He knows that Beckett intends to enslave her people after robbing them of their treasure, and Jack's moral compass revolts at the idea. It might be possible to deliver Ayisha safely to Zerzura, obtain some of the treasure, and convince Beckett that he never found it... but the greedy E.I.T.C. official has eyes everywhere, and if he learns that Jack has foiled his plans, he could take away the thing that Captain Sparrow loves most: his ship-and his freedom.
The Rogue Threat
- "He's too forward. And, while the three of us were together, I never got a chance to talk to you. Jack, I've missed you."
- ―Esmeralda Maria Consuela Anna de Sevilla to Jack Sparrow[src]
Jack Sparrow is a twenty year old pirate living in Shipwreck Cove. It seems that times cannot be better for the Pirate Brethren, but that will change very quickly. The mysterious rogue pirates begin to slaughter their victims, openly violating the Code of the Pirate Brethren. Instead of the traditional black pirate flag, the rogues fly the red flag with the horned demon skull. Their attacks could cause the war against piracy, and Captain Edward Teague, Keeper of the Code, decides to investigate the case.
Meanwhile, Jack and his older friend Christophe-Julien de Rapièr meet Esmeralda Maria Consuela Anna de Sevilla, the granddaughter of Don Rafael, captain of the Venganza and Pirate Lord of the Caribbean Sea. Jack and Esmeralda start to go on picnics on hidden inlets around Shipwreck Island, teaching each other in swordfighting and swimming in the process. Christophe soon joins them, and he teaches both youngsters in swordfighting. But Esmeralda later admits to Jack that she likes his company much more, because Christophe never misses an opportunity to touch her during the lessons. It's obvious to Jack that Christophe wishes to seduce Esmeralda.
- "Ladies, gentlemen, allow me present to you, Captain Hector Barbossa."
- ―Edward Teague to assembled pirates at Shipwreck Cove[src]
Suddenly, a pirate captain named Hector Barbossa informs the Pirate Lords that his ship, the Cobra, was attacked and destroyed by the rogues. The Brethren Court decides to destroy the rogues once and for all. A few weeks later, after Jack and Esmeralda took Esmeralda to their favorite tavern, the Drunken Lady, Jack meets One Tooth Tommy, one of Barbossa's crewmen. Tommy tells him how he saw "The Devil", the captain of the rogue pirate sloop that sank the Cobra. But he also tells him that he saw "The Devil" again, in Shipwreck Cove, on the deck of his ship. Initially, Jack doesn't believe Tommy, but when he finds his dead body in the cove two days later, Jack realizes that the rogues are among the Brethren.
A Counter to the Threat
- "That's Koldunya—means ‘witch’ in Russian—and she belongs to Boris Palachnik, the Pirate Lord of the Caspian Sea. Borya's our rogue pirate captain."
- ―Jack Sparrow to Esmeralda[src]
To avenge Tommy, Jack sets out on his own to find these rouges himself. Just as he begins to begin his secret quest, Jack is stopped by Esmeralda, who wants to come along. Jack is shocked to hear this for he believed that she fallen for Christophe seductive charms. Esmeralda later informs him this is not the case and that she rather enjoys spending her time with Jack rather than Christophe. Jack is delighted to hear this and they share their first kiss. Jack informs Esmeralda of the rogues that are hiding in this place. Together they set off to find the rouge pirate ship.
The couple soon find the vessel Tommy described before; a sleek sloop with a bow chaser. It was then Jack realized that the sloop belong to his old friend, Boris Palachnik, the Pirate Lord of the Caspian Sea. Jack and Esmeralda hurry back to shore and Jack race through the streets of Shipwreck Cove to find Barbossa. Once found, Barbossa identified Boris' ship as the one who sank the Cobra. Teague was later sought out and the Keeper of the Code called Boris and his crew into questioning.
Meeting with Davy Jones
- "Davy Jones...we, the Pirate Lords of the Brethren Court, call you. By our alliance giving us power over the sea, binding the queen in her bones, we entreat you. Come to us, Davy Jones. We summon you. We summon you. We summon you."
- ―Eduardo Villanueva, Ching, Edward Teague, and Rafael[src]
Most of the pirates gathered as Teague began a piractical trial. Boris was asked many difficult questions but seemed to mask his emotions effortlessly. After bringing a few witnesses to speak against Borya (including Jack), Teague believed only one being could truly deem Borya guilty: Davy Jones.
Knowing that the Lord of the Locker could not set foot on land but once every ten years, Teague and a few other Pirate Lords began to conjure Jones on the decks of the Troubadour, Teague's ship. So as Teague and his fellow Pirate Lords called out to Jones, the room started to get darker and a storm outside started to appear. Then out of the darkness stepped out Davy Jones. Teague spoke to Jones inquiring about Borya's activities and Jones responded that Borya was guilty. Teague vowed that they would send Boris into his realm soon. Jones also revealed that Borya wasn't the only rogue pirate in Shipwreck Cove.
A Fateful Decision
- "Jacques, tomorrow at dawn they are going to hang me, and all my men, who are innocent, too. We are pirates, yes, but you are a pirate, too! We have not broken the Code! It is Captain Borya's malice, his final revenge on an enemy that has brought us to this pass. Jacques, you are my best friend in all the world...please. Help me."
- ―Christophe-Julien de Rapièr to Jack Sparrow[src]
After witnessing Teague condemn Borya to death, Jack and Esmeralda went to the Drunken Lady to clear their heads. Once there, Barbossa joined them at their table and offered to buy Jack a drink so he can repay him for finding the rogue. Later on, Barbossa says he went to visit Borya in his cell and the old Russian gave him a piece of wood but he didn't realize it was one of the nine Piece of Eight which would make him the new Pirate Lord of the Caspian Sea. Jack told him he should tell Teague about it later.
Barbossa also revealed that Borya revealed the names of all rogue captains under his command, including the name the other rogue pirate in Shipwreck Cove. It turned out that the other rogue is none other than Christophe. Jack didn't believe Christophe was capable of this and decided he was going to see for himself whenever Christophe was innocent or not.
Jack visited Christophe in his cell and looked at his jailed friend in dismay. After hearing his pleas, Jack knew he must help him some way. After stealing the keys for the cell from Teague's dog, Jack crawled swiftly through an a secret passage to the Shipwreck City dungeons, where Christophe was held. After freeing Christophe, the French pirate then took the keys from Jack and unlocked the cell for his crew and Borya. It was then Jack realized his friend was indeed a rogue pirate but that couldn't stop all of them. The rogue pirate mob encountered Teague and his men and together they clashed into a bloody skirmish. During the fight, Jack was knocked unconscious after preventing a rogue pirate from shooting at Teague.
Life with the Rogues
- "Jacques, you silly fool. I fear you have made a grave error. Don't you know any better than to try and conceal booty from your comrades? That's an offense punishable by death, under La Vipère's Ship's Articles."
- ―Christophe-Julien de Rapièr to Jack Sparrow[src]
Jack awoke on the decks of Christophe's ship, the La Vipère. With Shipwreck Cove nowhere in sight, Jack was forced to work with the rogues. During his unfortunate voyage, Jack met a young Englishman named Robby Greene. After a few days, the rouges sighted a Dutch flute and began to fire upon her and butcher any soul on board. As Jack walked through the wreckage of the flute, he was surprised to find a large African man. As he laid on the ship dying, Jack tried comfort him during his last final moments. The African said his name was Taharka and was a proud Pharaoh of Zerzura. He gave Jack a bracelet and told him to return it to his people. Jack vowed to him that he would. After he died, Christophe appeared behind him. Seeing an opportunity to do away with Jack with a bit of torture, Christophe yelled out to the crew that Jack was going to steal the bracelet from the crew and punishment for that was death. The French rogue took the bracelet from Jack and forced him to board a little rowboat with no water or food. As Jack rowed away from La Vipère, he yelled to Christophe that Esmeralda kissed him. Furious, Christophe tried to shoot Jack with the musket, but he was interrupted by Robby, who jumped overboard with the two bottles of water and some food. Robby swam to Jack and together they set out to find a new life.
- "That's life on the account. But that's over now."
"Yes. We're going to become honest merchant sailors, we are."
- ―Jack Sparrow and Robert Greene[src]
After abandoning Christophe, Jack and Robby signed on a merchant ship, leaving the pirate lives behind them. Over the next five years, six of the eight rogue pirate captains were killed by the Brethren Court, but Borya and Christophe continued to operate in the Caribbean. Two years after the trial in Shipwreck Cove, Don Rafael was shot in the back by Christophe, and Esmeralda inherited his ship, his crew, and his title, becoming the new Pirate Lord of the Caribbean. Meanwhile, Jack and Robby joined the East India Trading Company, working on the ships which sailed from the port of Calabar, Africa.
- "Heaven help us. Either the sun has gotten to me, or I know that vessel."
"You're not seeing things, Robby. It's Venganza, and we're her quarry."
- ―Robert Greene and Jack Sparrow[src]
Eventually, Jack became the First Mate of the EITC brig Fair Wind, sailing under captain Nathaniel Bainbridge. When the ship sailed from Port Royal, Jamaica to London, England, with the cargo of rum, she encountered the Venganza, now captained by Esmeralda. The pirate frigate quickly caught the slow merchant ship, and though Jack persuaded the crew not to fight, Captain Bainbridge attacked Esmeralda because he didn't believe a woman should be a captain. He died from an apoplexy during the fight.
Jack negotiated with Esmeralda and convinced her not to take the whole cargo of rum his ship was carrying. Later, he came to the Venganza to a dinner with Esmeralda, and the two spent a passionate night together. The next morning, Jack returned to the Fair Wind, and after the memorial service for Captain Bainbridge, he sailed the ship for England.
After arriving in London, Jack gave his report to the EITC officials at the London EITC Office. They took the remaining cargo of the Fair Wind and loaded the ship with firearms. During his brief time in London, Jack went to Bainbridge's family and told them of Nathaniel's untimely demise. Afterwords, Jack sailed the ship back to its home port, Calabar.
- "Generally when EITC employees save the company money, I award them a nice bonus. Say ten pounds. However I suspect that there are things you would much prefer to have rather than a monetary bonus, if I judge your character correctly. So... how would a promotion to captain suit you, as well as a vessel to command?"
- ―Cutler Beckett to Jack Sparrow[src]
Once he arrived in Calabar, Jack was summoned to see Cutler Beckett, the East India Trading Company Director for West Africa. Beckett was amused by Jack and considered him to be very valuable for the company and himself. Since he was a calculating man, Beckett decided to entice Jack with the position of captain of the Marlin. Although Jack was pleased to hear of the offer his spirits dampened when he realized he would carry a cargo of slaves. Jack, who once was imprisoned aboard a ship himself, had a deep love for freedom and thought slavery was unjust. Sadly, Jack turned down Beckett's offer. Not wanting to lose such a witty man, Beckett offered him another ship, the Wicked Wench, which would be transporting other cargoes to the Caribbean. Jack was relieved and agreed to his new position as captain.
- "Chamba? I'm sorry I couldn’t help you, lad, I really am. But there's nothing to be gained by haunting me. Go visit Blount, perhaps you can frighten him into an apoplexy—which the bastard bloody well deserves."
"Cap'n Sparrow? Please, help! I ain't no ghost, I'm me. I be hanging here, outside the window."
- ―Jack Sparrow and Chamba[src]
Within a few days Jack had already made some progress on getting the Wicked Wench seaworthy. After promoting him to first mate, Jack had Robby hire a crew. Soon the Wicked Wench had dozens of men working on her and careening her on the sand banks of the Calabar River. Later on, Jack recieved his crates of salted pork for his crew. After inspecting it, Jack was startled to find that the pork was spoiled. Jack then ventured off to find Benjamin Blount, the portmaster and the one who was responsible the meat. After harsh questioning by Jack, Blount replied that it was his slave, Chamba who was at fault. Blount said that Chamba would get a whipping for it later and sent Jack along with a new supply of pork and a few extras.
Later that night, Jack heard a faint mourning outside his cabin window. To his surprise it was the slave, Chamba, who had escaped his master after a brutal whipping. Jack help the lad into his cabin and then began dressing his wounds. During the process, the half dead boy feel asleep, exhausted. When he awoke, Jack and Chamba discuss what to do next. Jack knew he couldn't send Chamba back for he knew the boy would be whipped again. Jack decided that he would hide the child while in port, hire him as his cabin boy later and sail away from vile Blount.
Soon, Chamba proved resourceful and became well adapted to life at sea. Jack and Robby also tried to teach Chamba proper English, which the boy learned extremely well.
Life as Captain
- "Doesn't that sound beautiful? Captain Jack Sparrow. Nice ring to it, eh?"
- ―Jack Sparrow to Robert Greene[src]
The newly christened Captain Jack Sparrow sailed off from Calabar to begin his new life commanding the Wicked Wench. In the beginning of the voyage, Jack encountered a heavy storm. Although the weather was dangerous, it was an opportunity for the crew to better themselves as sailors. With Jack at the helm, the ship endured only a few fractures and the there was no loss of life.
The rest of the voyage was full of clear skies. In fact, the Wicked Wench almost had beaten the record for the fastest ship across the Triangle, a feat not so easily done by new captains. Although Jack look forward to celebrating in port, Cutler Beckett had other ideas.
Reginald Marmaduke Bracegirdle-Penwallow
- "This is Viscount, Lord Reginald Marmaduke Bracegirdle-Penwallow, the EITC's Director of African Affairs."
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Lord Penwallow."
"Thank you, Captain Sparrow, and I must say the pleasure is all mine. It's an honor to meet the captain who so nearly broke the record for sailing the Triangle—and on the vessel's maiden voyage as an EITC ship, too! Well done, well done, Captain Sparrow!"
- ―Cutler Beckett, Jack Sparrow and Reginald Marmaduke Bracegirdle-Penwallow[src]
When the ship anchored, Ian Mercer stood on the docks and demanded that Captain Sparrow follow him at once. Jack, unsure whenever to trust a man with such a cold stare, followed him with a bit of caution. Once they arrived at Beckett's house, Jack was told to strip down and bathe in one of Beckett's large tubs. Jack declined at first but then was told Mercer would make him do it. Not wanting to by yanked with Mercer's black gloves, Jack quickly bathed, dressed himself in finer clothes given to him by Beckett and was told to meet the EITC Director in the dining room.
Once there, Jack sat down with Beckett and a portly fellow who intorduced himself as Viscount Reginald Marmaduke Bracegirdle-Penwallow. They sat around an elegant table and dined on a feast with food Jack had never encountered before. Afterwards, Jack was told he was brought here not only to sup with the elder Viscount but to also be instructed on his next shipment. Apparently, Penwallow bought a large spot of land on the sugarcane-filled island of New Avalon. It was Jack's job to carefully deliver some of building materials that were necessary to built Penwallow's new summer home. Jack happily accepted the offer and readied his ship for another voyage.
- "It's Mercer, sir. I've located something I think you should see. This Portugee deals in stolen goods. He has no idea what he has, except that he knows it's gold."
- ―Ian Mercer to Cutler Beckett[src]
While Jack was at sea, Mercer showed Beckett some strange artifacts he purchased for Beckett's eye. After inspecting the obviously African bracelet, Beckett realized that it was made in Zerzura, a city on the legendary island of Kerma. Mercer reported it he bought it off a slave trader who took it off a slave. Mercer then reported the slave was bought by Roger Dalton, a plantation owner. Beckett then went out of his way to buy the slave for he knew she was a native of Zerzura. After purchasing her, Beckett knew what Jack's next assignment was; to find Zerzura.
- Zeus (First mentioned)
- Poseidon (Mentioned only)
- Hades (First mentioned)
- Ra (First mentioned)
- Sekhemt (First mentioned)
- Jesus Christ (First mentioned)
- Bast (First mentioned)
- Horus (First mentioned)
Organizations and titles
- East India Trading Company
- Brethren of the Coast
- Templars (First mentioned)
- First Mate
- Second Mate
- Third Mate
- Pirate Lord
- Keeper of the Code
- British Royal Navy (Mentioned only)
- French Royal Navy (Indirect mention only)
- Spanish Royal Navy (Indirect mention only)
- Portuguese Royal Navy (Indirect mention only)
- Heart of Zerzura (First appearance)
- Treasure of Zerzura (First appearance)
- Treasure of Cortés (Mentioned only)
- Pound sterling
- Pirata Codex
- My Lyfe Amonge the Pyrates (First appearance)
- Jack Sparrow's compass
- Cutler Beckett's cane
- Wicked Wench (First appearance)
- Fair Wind (First appearance)
- Sentinel (First appearance)
- Cobra (First mentioned)
- Koldunya (First appearance)
- Venganza (First appearance)
- Marlin (First mentioned)
- Troubadour (First appearance)
- La Vipère (First appearance)
- Molly Dover (First mentioned)
- Flying Dutchman (Mentioned only)
- Centurion (Mentioned only)
- Dutch flute (First appearance)
- Polly (monkey) (First mentioned)
- Polly (parrot) (First mentioned)
- Shark (Mentioned only)
- Siren (Mentioned only)
- Mermaid (Mentioned only)
- Crocodile (Mentioned only)
- The Price of Freedom was written by A.C. Crispin, an author known for creating fascinating "backstory" for media icons such as Han Solo (in The Han Solo Trilogy) and Mr. Spock's father, Sarek (in the novel of the same name). When an editor working for Disney was seeking an author to write a novel dealing with the backstory of Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, they contacted Crispin's agent and contracted her to write the book after reading The Han Solo Trilogy.
- The idea of how Jack Sparrow became the Black Pearl (formerly the Wicked Wench) was briefly mentioned in promotional material for the second Pirates film, Dead Man's Chest. However, only the part from Cutler Beckett giving Jack a pirate brand as well as Jack's deal with Davy Jones was mentioned. The Price of Freedom expanded that story to new heights.