||The first 50 years of John Ward’s life were those of an ordinary seaman. But in 1603 he celebrated his half-century by leading a mass desertion from the Navy of James I of England, stealing a vessel, and defecting to the Ottoman Empire’s outpost at Tunis. There he set himself up as a privateer under the protection of the Pasha of Tunis, rejuvenated the Muslim Barbary Corsairs, and lead them in a series of successful attacks against Christian shipping. Wealthy as a lord, Ward purchased a palatial mansion and set up a mock court in which he presided over a scruffy band of English and European renegades, issuing decrees and receiving obeisance like a king. Ward was infamous in Europe—he was regarded as a Judas to his country—and his conversion to Islam towards the end of his life was the ultimate scandal. This compelling story reveals a man whose rejection of conventional morality led to power, wealth, and a happy if unusual retirement.