Vampirates is a series of books by British author Justin Somper, about a set of twin children, Connor and Grace Tempest, who get separated at sea and are picked up by two very different ships. The term Vampirate refers to a vampire living on the pirate ship, the Nocturne. Later changed to „Nocturnal“ to differentiate themselves from rebellious and uncontrolled Vampirates.
The year is 2512 and the Tempest twins, Grace and Connor, decide to leave their small town of Crescent Moon Bay after their father’s death. They take their boat out, which has been claimed by the bank, into the ocean in the middle of a horrible storm and they become shipwrecked. Saved by a passing pirate ship Connor is pulled aboard by the pirate Cheng Li and quickly adjusts to his new life as a pirate prodigy. Meanwhile, Grace is rescued from the sea by the Irish vampire pirate (Vampirate) Lorcan Furey and pulled onto a strange ship. She soon discovers that the ship is not a pirate ship, but a Vampirate ship instead. As they fight to find each other, they discover that they have chosen different paths and loyalties, but will they ever find each other again, or is it too late?
Grace Tempest: Described as being highly intelligent, Grace is rescued on to The Nocturne by Lorcan Furey. She, despite her initial fears, grows to enjoy the company of her new peers, especially Lorcan, Darcy Flotsam (the ship’s figurehead who comes to life at night) and the mysterious captain. She is especially more open minded than her brother, and is willing to accept the Vampirate’s ways, rather than dismiss them as cruel. Later in the series, she often leaves her brother to return or stay with the ship.
Connor Tempest: Connor is introduced as an athletic boy, who excelled in many sports, though appears slightly less intelligent that his sister. He is also more afraid of the ocean than Grace. He is rescued by Cheng Li, the deputy captain of the Diablo, a pirate ship. Although he is initially preoccupied with finding his sister, he quickly settles down into life aboard the ship, and becomes a prodigy in the eyes of his capitan, Molucco Wrathe and his crew mates, Bart, Jez and Cate. However, Connor is uneasy with certain aspects of pirate life, primarily killing, and this forces him to evaluate his life and future as a pirate.
Lorcan Furey – Lorcan maintains many roles upon the Nocturne, and he rises through the ranks as the series continues. He is first introduced when he saves Grace from drowning. He is described as having an „Irish brouge“, with blue eyes and black hair. Lorcan was born in Ireland, and ‚crossed‘ when he was 17.
The Captain – The Captain is the mysterious man in charge of the Nocturne, who largely remains nameless. The captain is later revealed as, Obsidian Darke. He is very selfless, to the point where he physically carries troubled souls within his body, even when it nearly kills him. He cares deeply for the twins, and has developed an especially strong bond with Grace. It is known he does not need blood, but feeds off a type of energy. However, he differs from other vampirates in other ways also; he is telepathic, able to go out into the light, and his cloak is of a similar material to the sails of his ship in that it appears to have veins of light in it. He wears a mask during most of the series, and though it covers his face, Grace could tell when he smiled at her.
Darcy Flotsam – Darcy is the figurehead of the Vampirate ship by day and „figure of fun“ by night. It is found out that she became so when the ship she sang on sank, and her soul became infused with a figurehead. Darcy is highly fashion conscious, and often lends clothes to her friends. She is Grace’s best friend, and Grace often consults her on matters of the heart.
Quintus Antonius Sidorio – Although referred to by his last name almost entirely, Sidorio was a criminal born in the time of Julius Caesar in Cilicia. It is later discovered that he kidnapped Caesar, and was killed by the same name after being tricked by him. He is vain and violent, and is banished from the Nocturne after trying to attack Grace. He formed a ship of rebels, and unlike the Nocturne, they fed whenever and wherever they liked, often ravaging whole coastal towns. Later it is revealed that he is Grace and Connor’s real father.
The donors – Donors are humans who live on the Nocturne. They, while not vampires, are immortal while being fed on frequently. Many have a special relationship with the vampire who feeds off of them. The ’sharing‘ is done once a week, at a lavish event called simply ‚the Feast‘. The donors are fed a special diet of high nutrient food, so that the vampires require less to survive. It is revealed that when a vampire stops feeding from a donor, they age rapidly.
Captain Molucco Wrathe – Molucco is the captain of the Diablo, and is one of three pirate brothers. He is famous for his love of treasure and his disregard for others in his quest to obtain it. On this matter, he often argues with his deputy, Cheng Li. Also, for the snake, Scrimshaw, that lives in his hair. Although he appears kind and trustworthy, he is revealed to be manipulative and selfish, ensuring Connor signed his articles before he experienced any other life away from the Diablo.
Cheng Li – Cheng Li is introduced as deputy of The Diablo but later gets her own ship (the Tiger),given as a gift by the federation. She is known to be very serious about almost everything. She was introduced in the first book of the series, as she saves Connor from drowning. She clashes frequently with Molucco on how to captain the ship, arguing that he should abide by the rules of the Pirate Federation. It is later revealed she works for the Federation, and was hired to bring Molucco into line.
Bartholomew „Bart“ Pearce – Bart is a fellow pirate aboard The Diablo. He strikes up a friendship with Connor quickly, even donating his clothes and bed to him when he first arrives. He also acts as a guide, showing Connor the ropes and helping him settle down. He wields a broadsword, on account of his size. He constantly flirts with his fellow crew member, Cate, and later on in the series it appears they are in a budding relationship. He is known to be twenty two years old, but said that he would lucky to reach thirty. He, along with Connor and Jez, make up the Three Buccaneers.
Cutlass Cate – Cate is notoriously the best fighter on the Diablo, also the strategist for their battles, and later in the series, others come searching for her to hire her services. Regardless of her reputation, she is kind and generous, something that has made her many friends. She is promoted to deputy captain on the Diablo, after Cheng Li leaves. She teaches Connor how to sword fight as a reward for him saving Molucco’s life, at Connor’s request. These lessons together make the two close, and they become friends quickly. She, along with Bart, join Cheng Li’s crew on the ‚Tiger‘.
Sugar Pie – Sugar Pie is the second in command waitress at Ma Kettle’s Tavern. She is attractive, although also feisty, and is known to have comforted Connor and various other characters throughout the series.
Matilda „Ma“ Kettle – Ma Kettle is the owner of Ma Kettle’s Tavern. She is striking in appearance and personality, and is known to wear some highly eccentric dresses. She seems to have a close relationship with Molucco Wrathe, and the two often flirt, and hint at previous times together.
Dexter Tempest – Dexter is the twin’s father. He was the lighthouse keeper at Crescent Moon Bay, but died at the start of the first book. He met the twin’s mother, Sally, on a trip around the world when she was a donor on the Nocturne. He took a job as a kitchen porter to be close to her, and suggested they leave together. He became father to the twins after they were born and Sally was resting at Sanctuary, so as to protect them from their real father. In the fourth book, his soul and that of Sally’s are reunited and appear to pass over together.
Sally – Sally is the mother of the twins. She was a donor on the Nocturne, a donor to Sidorio. Sidorio was, unknown to anyone else at the time, in love with Sally. When Dexter came aboard the ship with plans to leave it with her, Sidorio impregnated her with a spell. It is revealed that her soul is one of the one’s the Captain had been harbouring.