"The Pirate" is a novel by the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott, first published in 1822 and considered a masterpiece.
For "The Pirate", Scott drew on his memories of a voyage to the Northern Isles in 1814, as guest of a commission inspecting Scotland's lighthouses. The novel was finished in little more than three months and was ready for publication in late October 1821.
Hence, the novel is set at the beginning of the 18th century on the Shetland Islands, where Basil Mertoun lives as a tenant of Magnus Troil. In his youth, Mertoun has been betrayed by an unfaithful wife, and in a spirit of revenge, turned to piracy. Filled with self-reproach for his crimes, he lives as a recluse, along with his wife's son Mordaunt, whose paternity is doubtable.
"The Pirate" is also the story of the complicated romantic lives of the Troil sisters, Minna and Brenda.