NBC has announced plans for a new dramatic TV series based on Maine writer Colin Woodard’s book about 18th-century pirates creating a self-governed society in the Bahamas.

Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, said this week that 10 episodes of “Crossbones” had been ordered and production would begin in the fall. NBC has not said yet when the series might air.

The series will be based on Woodard’s nonfiction book “The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and The Man Who Brought Them Down” (Harcourt, 2007).

The series is being produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, whose resumes include major films like “Gladiator,” “Men in Black” and “The Ring.” The series will be written by the novelist and screenwriter Neil Cross, creator of the critically acclaimed BBC crime drama “Luther.”

NBC’s written description of the show says it will have “an unexpected moral center where one can’t be sure whether the pirates or the British crown are the villains.” The series will be set in 1715, and will open with the famed pirate Edward Teach, known as Blackbeard, commanding a “rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreant sailors.”

An assassin named Tom Lowe is sent to kill Blackbeard and, according to a news release, even he “can’t help but admire the political ideals of Blackbeard, whose thirst for knowledge knows no bounds — and no law.”

Woodard, state and national affairs writer for The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, said he is not yet able to discuss the planned series. His book examines a band of real-life 18th-century pirates — including Blackbeard — who came together in the Bahamas to form their own self-governed society.

They had a long-lasting effect on history and culture, namely how we think of pirates today, said Woodard.

“This is the pirate gang whose exploits inform 90 percent of our pop culture pirate iconography, from Long John Silver to Jack Sparrow, and there’s a reason for that,” Woodard said. “They were unlike the pirates who came before them and those who have come since, and for a time they brought three transatlantic empires to their knees.”

Woodard said the gang, which operated out of the Bahamas from 1715 to 1718, included Blackbeard, Sam Bellamy, Calico Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny, Mary Read and other famous pirates. Woodard said the band traveled far and wide, including to Maine.

“These were the true pirates of the Caribbean, but their operations extended northward to the Gulf of Maine and beyond,” said Woodard. “Some of them raided the Jordan’s farm on Cape Elizabeth and hid out on Damariscove Island off Boothbay. Others sought refuge on Monhegan.”

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]