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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Unabridged edition edition (16 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007342233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007342235
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 27 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,092,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Michael Crichton embarked on a career as a writer and filmmaker, whose credits include 'The Andromeda Strain', 'Westworld', 'Jurassic Park', 'Rising Sun', 'Prey' and 'State of Fear' and the TV series 'ER'. He has sold over 150 million books which have been translated into thirty-six languages; twelve have been made into films. He is the only person to have had, at the same time, the number one book, movie and TV show in the United States.

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Amazon Review

For many years, Michael Crichton's name was a byword for intelligent, cutting edge fiction, frequently utilising striking new developments in science as the basis of his narratives, or (most famously in Jurassic Park) extrapolating scientific possibilities into highly exciting (if implausible) tales of adventure. After his recent death (at a relatively young age), it was salutary to remember that his writing career had been a very long one -- so that when he took a concept that he might have used before (i.e., high tech amusement park goes disastrously wrong with fatal consequences for visitors) he could ensure that there was a lengthy gap so that people barely noticed (look at the plots of Westworld (1973) and the aforementioned Jurassic Park). And now we have his final book, published posthumously, Pirate Latitudes. For once, though, it looks as if Crichton were following the pack rather than leading it -- but things are not that clear cut as they might initially have seemed.

Pirate Latitudes takes the reader back to 1665, when Charles II’s Jamaican colony is under serious threat, besieged on every side by the voracious Spanish empire. At the centre of this troubled outpost is its crowded capital, Port Royal, a lively (if festering) hangout for criminal dregs, who inhabit its taverns and brothels. This is the time of the privateer, when (with tacit royal sanction), ship's captains could make sorties against Spanish ships and outposts, plundering at will -- just so long as the Governor and King Charles are taken care of. Michael Crichton's protagonist in this colourful mix is Captain Charles Hunter, educated at Harvard and a man with keenly developed survival instincts. He is made aware a treasure galleon, which is at anchor in the heavily fortified Spanish island of Matanceros, and Hunter’s interest is piqued -- not least because this means he will be able to take on Philip of Spain's most ruthless enforcer, Cazalla. The stage is set for what will either be a glorious bit of naval smash-and-grab or that will end in the ignominious death of Charles Hunter and his motley crew.

All of this, of course, suggests that Crichton (always a man aware of the commercial possibilities of any material) had been looking at the phenomenal success of the Pirates of the Caribbean series of films, and there is no doubt that some of the spirit of fun to be found here echoes that of the Johnny Depp-starring movies. But Crichton clearly remembered an earlier era, and the swashbuckling style of the (less parodic) Errol Flynn adventues is actually the template here (you'll notice the comparisons drawn here are cinematic rather than literary -- but Michael Crichton always straddled the two fields, and was a successful film director as well as novelist). Perhaps Pirate Latitudes isn't the final triumphant legacy we might wish for from Crichton, but (taken in the right spirit) it's uncomplicated, fast-moving fun. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Praise for 'Next':

'A wonderful farrago, energetically stirring up a lot of scientific, medical, business and legal issues… marvellous.' Evening Standard

'A satirical black-comedy thriller… Crichton writes likes Tom Wolfe on speed… completely brilliant… top form.' Daily Mail

'One of the most reliable purveyors of brain-engaged fiction at work today… he is too good a writer not to nail us… diverting stuff.' Daily Express

'Be very afraid… expertly blending science fact with fiction, Crichton sets up mind-boggling scenarios where doctors, lawyers, scientists and big business play God… the pace and intrigue last to the final page.' News of the World

'"Next" is 'The Da Vinci Code' with smarts. Own up, your guilty pleasure holiday reading awaits.' SFX

'Gripping' Zoo

'Thought-provoking and at times frighteningly real, 'Next' is a demanding but enjoyable read.' Woman

'A satiric polemic…compelling… extremely funny… a convincing and scary warning from Crichton' Sunday Times

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Inspector Gadget VINE VOICE on 14 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unless, by some miracle, a full manuscript is found in one of Michael Crichton's old filing cabinets Pirate Latitudes is his swansong. It's a rather frustrating novel, not in any narrative sense, but in its straight-forwardness and adolescent attitude. Apparently Crichton had been working on this novel as far back as the late 70s, but even then he'd be about 36 years old, yet it has the quality of a writer who is still learning to properly define himself. Perhaps this is why he never had it published while he was alive - it just feels like it isn't refined enough yet.

In 1665, on the island of Jamaica, Captain Hunter (obvious subtext right there already) gathers together a bunch of rogues to launch an attack on a remote island fortress operated by a sadistic Spaniard, and steal his treasure. Some live, some die, some double-cross, many cannons send balls back and forth, and a lot of wood is splintered. It's never once boring, however some little trims could be made here and there. Crichton is always good for well-researched details, but not all of it utterly relevant. What Pirate Latitudes lacks is a social commentary or ironic message. It doesn't HAVE to feature anything like this, but from Crichton I've come to expect more.

As I said, you WILL have fun reading this novel, even if the deflating epilogue ends it on a downer. Crichton's best it ain't. His epitaph, like it or not, it shall remain.
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Format: Kindle Edition
"Pirate Latitudes" is Michael Crichton's final novel and it was released posthumously. I have enjoyed a lot of Crichton's novels so always planned on reading this but as it was a departure from the Science Fiction novels of his that I normally read I never got around to it. However, as I had to read an Adventure novel as part of the 2013 Eclectic Reading Challenge I felt that this was the perfect opportunity to finally get around to reading it.

The story itself is set in the Caribbean during 17th Century and follows the antics of Captain Hunter, a privateer operation out of Port Royal, Jamaica. When Jamaica's governor hears about a Spanish treasure galleon being anchored at a Spanish fortress he enlists Hunter in an quest to attack the supposedly impenetrable fortress and escape with the Spanish treasure. So begins an adventure across the sea in which Hunter and his crew aboard the sloop Cassandra must battle warships, jungle terrain, great storms, cannibals and even the odd sea monster.

I found the book to be a very light and easy read that was very much of the same style as Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The pace was fast and there was action aplenty as the characters struggled from one issue to another. It really did feel like a Hollywood blockbuster in novel form which is fine if you are just looking for something fun to read but don't got looking for any of Crichton's interesting insights into Humanity and Science in this book as you won't find it. Personally I was thoroughly entertained although I do think the plot suffers from a slight lack of originality due to its comparison with the aforementioned Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the fact that Crichton's death meant it was never fully refined.
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By NeuroSplicer TOP 100 REVIEWER on 22 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is NOT what I will remember the late Michael Crichton by. He was an excellent writer, excelling in popularized science techno-thrillers but also fully capable of producing period dramas of high quality, such as The Great Train Robbery. Having read that gem recently, I can attest that PIRATE LATITUDES was either NOT written by Michael Crichton or was only a rough script - and was then polished and hastily packaged as a novel.

True, Michael Crichton's main focus had always been the story, often at the expense of his characters. However, the characters here are so crudely and halfheartedly developed that I could not find myself caring for any of them, including Cpt. Hunter, the main hero. The story does go from one cliffhanger to the next (in a James Rollins fashion) and it will keep you turning pages. Nevertheless, it is writing-an-action-novel-by-the-numbers: the story never managed to get a hold on me.

Where is Crichton's signature obsessive research that used to turn long-held misconceptions on their head? Where is his attention to obscure details and little-known scientific facts with big impact? Where is his ability to entertain and educate at the same time?
After the sad cases of Frank Herbert and Robert Ludlum, Crichton's heirs are attempting to exploit his fans as well. He did not deserve this.

Let this act of piracy hang from the yardarm.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
Do you like fast-paced historical adventures? Do you like pirates? If (like me) you answered yes to both questions, this book is definitely for you. If you answered yes to only one of the questions, it's probably still worth trying for 20-30 pages to see if it sucks you in. If you answered no to both, well, then this book isn't for you. Pulled off the hard drive of the deceased Crichton, this posthumous adventure is the first book of his I've read and it's a surprisingly good update on the swashbuckling pirate yarns popularized by Rafael Sabatini back in the 1910s and 20s (Captain Blood and The Sea-Hawk being the most famous). To be sure, Crichton has amped up the violence, sex, villainy, and gadgetry to meet the expectations of modern audiences, but at the core, it's an old-fashioned adventure.

The story takes place in the Caribbean of the 1660s, during a time when England and Spain had a very shaky peace treaty in place. However, the British privateers who previously held letters of marque allowing them to attack Spanish ships in the name of the Empire were somewhat disinclined to be bound by this treaty. The most daring and dangerous of these men is the Charles Hunter, who is the kind of daring, dashing, charismatic, cunning, witty, hunky pirate whom we all wish we could be. The British governor of Jamaica enlists Hunter in a scheme to steal a massive shipment of gold from an impregnable Spanish fortress commanded by a true sadist.
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