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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fitting goodbye
I am still reeling from Michael Crichton's death. I have read all his books and will really miss his great prose. Who else could have written Jurassic Park?. Pirate Latitudes is a rip-roaring romp around the 17th Century Caribbean with swashbuckling aplenty. The characters are colourful, live hard and die cheaply but that is part of the book's charm. This is a light and...
Published on 19 Nov 2009 by Dr. S. Patel

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Such a shame
I so wanted this to be a great book, Crichton is such an excellent author and who can turn down a book on pirates?
But every page i turned i looked fr the story to get better and it didnt, it was wooden, 1 dimensional, there was no taking the reader along and allowing them to become one with the period and the sounds and sights and smells, it was just words on a...
Published on 28 Jun 2011 by Parm


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Such a shame, 28 Jun 2011
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pirate Latitudes (Hardcover)
I so wanted this to be a great book, Crichton is such an excellent author and who can turn down a book on pirates?
But every page i turned i looked fr the story to get better and it didnt, it was wooden, 1 dimensional, there was no taking the reader along and allowing them to become one with the period and the sounds and sights and smells, it was just words on a page.
I finished the book really fast, normally the sign of a good book, but in this case a sign that i was almost scan reading in the vague hope that something would happen and something would improve.

such a shame ... a huge miss
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Irate Attitudes, 14 Aug 2013
By 
Inspector Gadget "Go Go Gadget Reviews" (On the trail of Doctor Claw) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pirate Latitudes (Paperback)
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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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fitting goodbye, 19 Nov 2009
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This review is from: Pirate Latitudes (Hardcover)
I am still reeling from Michael Crichton's death. I have read all his books and will really miss his great prose. Who else could have written Jurassic Park?. Pirate Latitudes is a rip-roaring romp around the 17th Century Caribbean with swashbuckling aplenty. The characters are colourful, live hard and die cheaply but that is part of the book's charm. This is a light and frothy read which you can take on the train, plane or beach but it is worth the money. Thanks for all the fantastic books Michael.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars swash, buckle and shiver me timbers, 26 Nov 2009
By 
Michael Watson "skirrow22" (Halifax, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pirate Latitudes (Hardcover)
There seems to have been more hype for this book than most, especially as Spielberg will be turning this excellent pirate romp into a blockbuster film.

Sadly, as we know, this is a posthumous novel. Crichton's untimely death has robbed us of a great storyteller; the list of epic books into films is probably the most varied yet most entertaining of any author and I suspect Pirate Latitudes will fit well into this listing.

As far as I can tell, the research into the 17th. century pirates and privateers is well up to scratch. Set in the Caribbean and based in Port Royal, Jamaica, the hero of this epic is a Captain Charles Hunter who has to face the might of a superior Spanish ship, its crew and a heavily fortified fortress in order to secure a huge treasure trove. That he manages to find his own crew of cut-throats and explosive experts in the tiny drinking houses and brothels of the town will come as no surprise to Crighton followers. That they face overwhelming odds both natural (if a sea monster and cannibals are natural?) and man-made is part of the author's ability to entertain us, knowing, I suppose that such feats make for good viewing at the cinema.

The book is easy to read and one fairly sails through the pages without quite realising that you've reached the end - sadly. Along the way, most readers will have picked some entertaining information about life at sea in the bad old days, though watching tv footage of stowaways attempting to reach the UK seem to suggest some things haven't changed too much.

If you want an entertaining yet exciting and worthwhile read, pick up a copy of this book and batten down your hatches - with some grog to hand, of course.
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1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 20 July 2014
By 
Miguel Caro Cuenca "MigueCC" (The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pirate Latitudes (Paperback)
I expected much more from this book. It was written with anachronism and in a very sloppy style, for example Spanish soldiers speaking in a language that was a mix of French and Italian. The book looks like the classical super-hero against super-villain story from the 70's. Very predictable and disappointing.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great entertainment - treat yourself, 14 April 2010
By 
I. B. Pitbladdo "jacandian" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pirate Latitudes (Paperback)
I really cannot understand the negative reviews this novel has had. Its not as if it purports to be one thing then turns out to be something different. The most cursory examination of the cover and the back cover blurb leaves no doubt about what your going to get within.
Let me be clear. It is an exciting and very well told story, you would expect no less from such a celebrated author.
I don't know if this was Michael Crichton's final draft but I am of the opinion that there is so much richness of character and incident in the narrative that it could easily have grown by another couple of hundred pages without losing any of its ability to keep you entertained.
Your enjoyment or otherwise of this book will, of course, depend on whether you like tales of sailing ships, pirates, treasure and grisly death so, if you've picked it up it's a fair bet that these things float your boat as they say.
Go on, spend a couple of quid, enjoy, and the naysayers be dammned!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Old-Fashioned Ripping Yarn, 15 Feb 2011
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pirate Latitudes (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. Where it gets a little more interesting than a standard pirate tale (rather more like a heist film or Dirty Dozen war ensemble film), is that Hunter needs to assemble a special crew for this job. There's the wheelman (master sailor/pilot), the bruiser (a mute Moor), the explosives expert (a Jewish alchemist), the cold-blooded killer (French, naturally), and the sniper (a transvestite) to supplement Hunter's own considerable skills.

Once this piratical A-Team is assembled, Hunter leads them on the bold raid, dispatching all manner of obstacles and setbacks along the way. As with a lot of modern historical fiction, Crichton weaves in all kinds of interesting period details without it becoming too much of a lecture or diverting from all the killing that goes on throughout the book. And one hardly needs to add that there's a beautiful damsel in distress thrown into the mix, not to mention a twist or two in the ending. Is this fine writing or great literature? Of course not -- but it is an example of masterful storytelling and pacing that's tons of fun.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Cliffhanger in Every Chapter, 14 Feb 2010
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pirate Latitudes (Hardcover)
"When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger (for the people were distressed),
then the people hid in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in holes, and in pits."

--1 Samuel 13:6

It's hard to know what you are going to get when the literary heirs to a deceased famous author "find" another completed manuscript. Was this one all ready to go? Or was it one that the author didn't think was ready? It's often hard to tell you read the book.

I suspect that Michael Crichton wasn't quite done with this story. It could have been just a writing exercise. But who knows?

I was reminded of the weekly serials that used to play at our local movie theater when I was a youngster. At the end of each one, there was a cliffhanger that looked all but impossible to escape. Naturally, you wanted to find out what happened and tried to come back next Saturday to find out.

The problem with that way of writing a story is that you begin to assume success, so the predicaments lose a lot of their power. It's like having the author wink at you to indicate, "It's okay, don't worry."

There are a lot of impressive problems to overcome for Captain Charles Hunter. The imagination behind developing those difficulties is as wonderful as anything that Michael Crichton ever wrote. The problem is that there are just too many of them for this to be taken with anything other than a tongue in cheek.

You'll learn a lot more about Port Royal and the Spanish Main than you probably knew before. I found the story to be well seated in the history and geography depicted.

Have fun guessing how the various pickles will be sliced and diced into entertaining escapes!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A 'nice' holiday read - if you're bored!, 14 July 2014
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This review is from: Pirate Latitudes (Kindle Edition)
A holiday read - typical pirate adventure story laced with 'goodies' and 'baddies' with a touch of sex thrown in.
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5.0 out of 5 stars just a great read from Michael Crichton, 30 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Pirate Latitudes (Kindle Edition)
Ok it's another pirate story, but so we'll put together with pace and imagination. The characters have personality and a little spice. It would be good to see this as a real life film for the older age group.
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Pirate Latitudes
Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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