Reader reviews for Pirate Latitudes: A Novel

well worth the time!
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Great story very pirate authentic this would be a fantastic film
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A lively adventure set in 17th century Jamaica.
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A lively adventure set in 17th century Jamaica.
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This is a book that I decided to read even though it had many bad reviews. And, I'm glad I did. Crichton never disappoints, even with genres he never writes about. I have never read books about pirates. Nor do they interest me. But, Crichton has ignited a new interest about pirates that I have grown to like. Contrary to what many said, this book does not have a Pirates of the Caribbean feel to it. Nor, did it feel like a Disney film. In fact, it had a realistic, almost historic feel to it unlike the fake and unrealistic scenes often found in Pirates of the Caribbean, which I didn't like. I really grew to like Captain Hunter. And, even though he and his motley crew of pirateers were the unruly and lawless bad guys, I actually rooted for them throughout their whole adventure all the way to the end. They grew on me. So, if you like history, adventure, and want to read about the other side of history you rarely hear about, then this book is for you.
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Pirate Latitudes by Micheal Crichton, published a year after his death, is a romp. It is full of swashbuckling action and completely familiar characters. There is a bold captain, who is either a privateer or a pirate; several fair and comely maidens of high birth and low; and a band of adventurers each with special skills and powers.The rough and tumble hero, Captain Charles Hunter, sets off to capture a Spanish galleon laden with treasure, at anchor under the guns of an impregnable fortress.He recruits for the mission a French assassin, named appropriately Sanson; a huge mute black man named Bassa but called the Moor; a powder and explosives expert, Don Diego, known either as Black Eye, or the Jew; and a woman, Lazue, who lives and dresses as a man and who happens to have uniquely keen eyesight as well as built in advantage in a knife fight when she flashes her womanly breasts to confuse her opponent. Then there is Enders, a barber/surgeon who is also a skilled helmsman. Crichton insists on calling Enders “the sea artist” repeatedly, referring to his abilities at the helm which border apparently on the magical.They will do battle with the horribly villainous Captain Cazalla, the Spanish commander of the fortress and an accompanying warship. Along the way the group picks up Lady Sarah Almont, the niece of the English Governor of Jamaica, who Cazalla has previously captured and ravished. Lady Sarah also happens to be a vegetarian and a witch. And just so that every base is covered Crichton even includes a Kraken, the mythological sea beast which made an appearance in the last two Disney Pirates of the Caribbean movies and will soon be making an encore in the upcoming movie, Clash of the Titans.Crichton uses every trick and ploy to keep the plot moving. The band of privateers is captured, then escapes, succeeds in capturing the galleon and rescuing the Governor’s niece, only to be chased by a Spanish warship. There is a sea battle, a hurricane, brushes with cannibals and the Kraken, as well as betrayals, murder, lusty wenches and some sex.Admirers of nautical fiction will either be amused or irritated by Crichton’s descriptions of ships and sailing. He is often merely vague, which is a safe approach. Otherwise he confuses reefing with furling. The treasure ship starts out as a nao and becomes a galleon. While described as tubby and slow, the galleon travels at speeds that would not displease a clipper ship captain. At one key point in the plot Captain Hunter has all the guns on the galleon moved to the same side so he can fire them all at once. How this would work without corresponding gun ports is not clear. But then really who cares about accuracy when you have a Kraken?What sort of novel is Pirate Latitudes? It is a pot boiler, pulp fiction, and a fine book for the beach. The characters are all from central casting and the plot is reminiscent of many other books and movies. When the villain rasps “my mistress shall dine on your testicles,” I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, groan or just put the book down and walk away. But I kept reading.Pirate Latitudes is not a good book, nor is it a terribly bad book, nor is it so bad that it is good. It is the sort of book that you pick at the airport, read quickly while on a long flight and don’t care if you accidentally leave it on the plane.A movie of the novel, to be directed by Steven Spielberg, is under development. Of course.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is a book that I decided to read even though it had many bad reviews. And, I'm glad I did. Crichton never disappoints, even with genres he never writes about. I have never read books about pirates. Nor do they interest me. But, Crichton has ignited a new interest about pirates that I have grown to like. Contrary to what many said, this book does not have a Pirates of the Caribbean feel to it. Nor, did it feel like a Disney film. In fact, it had a realistic, almost historic feel to it unlike the fake and unrealistic scenes often found in Pirates of the Caribbean, which I didn't like. I really grew to like Captain Hunter. And, even though he and his motley crew of pirateers were the unruly and lawless bad guys, I actually rooted for them throughout their whole adventure all the way to the end. They grew on me. So, if you like history, adventure, and want to read about the other side of history you rarely hear about, then this book is for you.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Pirate Latitudes by Micheal Crichton, published a year after his death, is a romp. It is full of swashbuckling action and completely familiar characters. There is a bold captain, who is either a privateer or a pirate; several fair and comely maidens of high birth and low; and a band of adventurers each with special skills and powers.The rough and tumble hero, Captain Charles Hunter, sets off to capture a Spanish galleon laden with treasure, at anchor under the guns of an impregnable fortress.He recruits for the mission a French assassin, named appropriately Sanson; a huge mute black man named Bassa but called the Moor; a powder and explosives expert, Don Diego, known either as Black Eye, or the Jew; and a woman, Lazue, who lives and dresses as a man and who happens to have uniquely keen eyesight as well as built in advantage in a knife fight when she flashes her womanly breasts to confuse her opponent. Then there is Enders, a barber/surgeon who is also a skilled helmsman. Crichton insists on calling Enders “the sea artist” repeatedly, referring to his abilities at the helm which border apparently on the magical.They will do battle with the horribly villainous Captain Cazalla, the Spanish commander of the fortress and an accompanying warship. Along the way the group picks up Lady Sarah Almont, the niece of the English Governor of Jamaica, who Cazalla has previously captured and ravished. Lady Sarah also happens to be a vegetarian and a witch. And just so that every base is covered Crichton even includes a Kraken, the mythological sea beast which made an appearance in the last two Disney Pirates of the Caribbean movies and will soon be making an encore in the upcoming movie, Clash of the Titans.Crichton uses every trick and ploy to keep the plot moving. The band of privateers is captured, then escapes, succeeds in capturing the galleon and rescuing the Governor’s niece, only to be chased by a Spanish warship. There is a sea battle, a hurricane, brushes with cannibals and the Kraken, as well as betrayals, murder, lusty wenches and some sex.Admirers of nautical fiction will either be amused or irritated by Crichton’s descriptions of ships and sailing. He is often merely vague, which is a safe approach. Otherwise he confuses reefing with furling. The treasure ship starts out as a nao and becomes a galleon. While described as tubby and slow, the galleon travels at speeds that would not displease a clipper ship captain. At one key point in the plot Captain Hunter has all the guns on the galleon moved to the same side so he can fire them all at once. How this would work without corresponding gun ports is not clear. But then really who cares about accuracy when you have a Kraken?What sort of novel is Pirate Latitudes? It is a pot boiler, pulp fiction, and a fine book for the beach. The characters are all from central casting and the plot is reminiscent of many other books and movies. When the villain rasps “my mistress shall dine on your testicles,” I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, groan or just put the book down and walk away. But I kept reading.Pirate Latitudes is not a good book, nor is it a terribly bad book, nor is it so bad that it is good. It is the sort of book that you pick at the airport, read quickly while on a long flight and don’t care if you accidentally leave it on the plane.A movie of the novel, to be directed by Steven Spielberg, is under development. Of course.
Permalink · Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A story of Caribbean pirates, Port Royal and the Spanish Main. This story follows an English "privateer" captain and his crew as they pursue treasure from Spain. I didn't realize until I was finished that it was published posthumously. Which perhaps explains a lot. It was lacking in purpose, or it didn't connect with me, or perhaps I'm simply tired of pirates? Anyway, the story itself was certainly action-packed, the characters going from one pirate catastrophe to another, really, it seemed that they were only there to illustrate the life of pirates in the 17th century. I think perhaps there is a reason Mr. Crichton hadn't submitted it for publication. The story was finished, but the spirit was lacking.The reader, whose name I don't remember, was OK, a bit monotone, but at least his accents didn't sound like Dracula.
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A good adventure that is somewhat different to other Michael Crichton books, but well executed. At least feels authentic to the period.
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