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Pirate Latitudes: A Novel by Michael…

Pirate Latitudes: A Novel (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Michael Crichton

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2,3361312,695 (3.32)82
Title:Pirate Latitudes: A Novel
Authors:Michael Crichton
Info:Harper (2009), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:USA, Audiobook, Mystery/Suspense

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Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton (2009)


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Pirate yarn set in Caribbean Sea,1665 - Crichton's last novel ( )
  | Jun 29, 2015 | edit |
I must say first that no, this wasn't the best pirate story I've ever read but it was definitely a great one.
Being a pirate storyteller myself, I appreciated this book on a whole different level than let's say, the more contemporary or classic books I've read. The reason is; I read pirate novels not only for entertainment but for research.
I was excited that so much of this story takes place in Port Royal, Jamaica because I recently spent quite a few hours researching that area of the world during the Golden Age of Piracy and found his descriptions really brought the place to life for me.
I read this book while my last novel was being edited and my head swirled with ideas and imagery that I felt my own story was lacking. The end result? Several rewrites on my own novel. :)
I suppose my hope is to someday reach the level of success this gentleman did. Even if writing on a topic that is near and dear to my heart was not his forte, I could tell he was having a lot of fun with it and I wanted to climb into the story and enjoy it with him! ( )
  AuthorPSBartlett | Jun 11, 2015 |
A posthumously published work is like a double edged sword for both reader and the author. For fans, if the work is not “up to par” it can be a disappointing experience leaving a sense of dissatisfaction and comparisons with other more polished work. For authors, it may have been a personal piece meant only for them to enjoy or a draft for a future novel still in the rough and nowhere ready for publication.

Pirate Latitudes was dug out of Michael Crichton’s filing cabinet after his death. Yes, it is not as polished as his more famous work but I also understand that it is most likely a draft meant to be subject to extensive editing and re-writing. You know what? I didn’t care.

There is something fun about the pirate story. This is very traditional pirate stuff. An English outpost in Jamaica with a Governor-General fond of drinking and privateering is approached by Captain Hunter. A Spanish galleon located on a neighboring island is said to contain a mother lode. It lay at anchor in a heavily fortified bay. Hunter is given the o.k. by the GG with the understanding that he himself as well as the Crown will both get their share.

Hunter goes about the town under cover of darkness gathering together a crew of specialists to help him undertake a daring expedition, considered impossible by more conventional privateers. These specialists include Bassa the Moor – the brawn; Lazue a female pirate with a knack for navigation; Black Eye aka “The Jew”, a merchant with a sideline in explosives and a Frenchman named Sanson who may be an ally or an enemy – only time will tell.

On their journey they are faced with all manner of obstacles. Cazalla, a Spanish pirate who controls the fortress at Mantaceros where the galleon is anchored must be faced first, when he captures their ship on the way to the raid, and again at the fort during the capture of the galleon. Storms in the Caribbean waters of a mild nature right up to hurricane force winds force them to negotiate a treacherous reef to find shelter.
Arawak cannibals on an unnamed island and a kracken both attempt to take the crew and they are further hindered by having to rescue the Governor-General’s niece who had been captured by Cazalla and also was dabbling in witchcraft – a hobby she picked up during a stint in France.

Upon their arrival back to home port, the Governor-General had been imprisoned in a coup by some unscrupulous underlings and more adventures abound as the crew attempts to save themselves from unfriendly government troops, unsavory politicians and each other.

Yes, this is not the most polished novel, but it was a great story, a quick read and I could only imagine what may have become of it had Crichton been able to work with it as he probably wanted. This was never really meant for readers – I’m sure the publishing house was just looking for that final pay day from an author that was gone too soon. Enjoy it for what it is and appreciate that Crichton took the time to write it. ( )
  ozzieslim | Jun 5, 2015 |

Here's what I think happened: Michael Crichton thought it would be fun to write about pirates. So he did a lot of research and wrote the book around that. Indeed, probably the biggest positive of this book is that it's researched very well. In the end, he must've realized the story didn't hold up, so maybe he tucked it away to work on later. In a nutshell, it felt very realistic (except for the kraken parts) but was very slow story-wise. But I'm still glad I read it. ( )
  KR_Patterson | Apr 28, 2015 |
This was enjoyable fast-paced reading. Charles Hunter, a pirate, who is based at the colony of Jamaica is planning and undertaking a theft from the Spanish crown in the Caribbean. Therefore he is looking for the most skilled men who are coming along with him. He is making an unorthodox approach to get to his target.
The story is written very gripping and I could laugh out loud at the different incidents which have taken place during this endeavour. ( )
  Ameise1 | Apr 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
Not surprisingly, Crichton’s book is at least halfway to being a film: indeed, it is more interesting to read as an extended film treatment than as a book in its own right. It is in effect the "novelization" of an (as yet) unmade film, leaving language as the temporary incarnation of a work intended for the eye rather than the page.
Crichton’s devoted readers knew how taut and exciting his books could be and how much fascinating minutiae he could deliver. They won’t mistake “Pirate Latitudes” for one of his best. Its posthumous publication is bittersweet, and no amount of “Smart there with the jib!” talk can disguise that. The Crichton reputation and legacy are based on works far heartier than this.
It may make a dandy movie but, as a novel, it's forgettable, and then some.
When it comes to sharp, slick techno-thrillers that you can polish off on a flight to Chicago, there's never been anybody better. But a hackneyed historical novel filled with bosomy maidens and blustery old navy dialogue (''Mizzen top blown!'') is not what Crichton should be remembered for. This is one chestful of doubloons that should have been left hidden in the sand.
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Sir James Almont, appointed by His Majesty Charles II Governor of Jamaica, was habitually an early riser.
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Book description
The Caribbean, 1665. A remote colony of the English Crown, the island of Jamaica holds out against the vast supremacy of the Spanish empire. Port Royal, its capital, is a cutthroat town of taverns, grog shops, and bawdy houses. In this steamy climate there's a living to be made, a living that can end swiftly by disease -- or by dagger. For Captain Charles Hunter, gold in Spanish hands is gold for the taking, and the law of the land rests with those ruthless enough to make it. Word in port is that the galleon El Trinidad, fresh from New Spain, is awaiting repairs in a nearby harbor. Heavily fortified, the impregnable harbor is guarded by the bloodthirsty Cazalla, a favorite commander of the Spanish king. With backing from a powerful ally, Hunter assembles a crew of ruffians to infiltrate the enemy outpost and commandeer the ship, along with its fortune in Spanish gold. The raid is as perilous as the bloodiest tales of island legend, and Hunter will lose more than one man before he even gets to shore, where dense jungle and the firepower of Spanish infantry stand between him and the treasure.
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The Caribbean, 1665. Pirate captain Charles Hunter, with backing from a powerful ally, assembles a crew of ruffians to take the Spanish galleon, "El Trinidad," guarded by the bloodthirsty Cazalla, a favorite commander of the Spanish king himself.

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