At the Guardian, he named a top ten list of pirate books.
One book on the list:
The Odyssey by HomerRead about the other entries on the list.
Time for some ancient pirate action on the wine-dark seas! Odysseus confesses to two acts of piracy on his epic journey and it's not only his tales but the non-judgmental reaction to them which is of interest. The Odyssey is a useful reminder that piracy is by no means restricted to the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries. Whenever I found myself writing long lists of ships in transit, in Immortal War, I found myself giving a nod of thanks to Homer.
The Odyssey also made John Mullan's lists ten of the best shipwrecks in literature, ten of the best monsters in literature, ten of the best examples of rowing in literature, and ten of the best caves in literature, as well as Carsten Jensen's list of the top ten seafaring tales.
Also see John Mullan's list of ten of the best pirates in fiction.