Sunday, May 16, 2010
Pirate Latitudes is written by the prolific and successful best seller writer Michael Crichton. Crichton passed away in 2008 and Pirate Latitudes was discovered and published after his death.
As nearly everything Crichton wrote was either made into a film or a TV series it is unsurprising that Pirate Latitudes reads rather like a script for an adventure film.
The book was very obviously inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean and the author no doubt sought to emulate the success of that particular franchise.
Rogueish privateer Captain Edward Hunter is contracted by Port Royal's somewhat unscrupulous governor Sir James Almont to liberate a Spanish galleon full of treasure from nearby Matanceros Harbour. If he can do so then the shares in the treasure will make he and his crew rich beyond imagination, that's even after the King and Governor Almont have taken their shares. The only catch is that no one has ever successfully taken anything from Matanceros and it's brutal commander; Cazalla is not a man anyone would want as an enemy.
The story moves quickly and the action is handled very professionally. There's nothing really special about Crichton's prose, but he knows how to tell a good story, aside from his females who I found a little stereoptypical, with the exception of the gender confused Lazue, the characters were entertaining and likeable, the villains were suitably hissable. It was a rip roaring boys own adventure story, extremely readable, if somewhat forgettable.
One major criticism is the unnecessary epilogue. It tells the reader about most of the main characters fates, it seems to be an attempt to pretend that the characters were actual historical figures, which they weren't. The book would have been fine without them.
I'd rate it F for fun.