Michael Crichton - Pirate Latitudes

Michael Crichton - Pirate Latitudes

(HarperCollins)

The first of two books to be published posthumously, Pirate Latitudes was found as a complete manuscript after Michael Crichton’s death in November 2008. Set in the volatile colonial Caribbean in 1665, it details British privateer Charles Hunter’s quest to find a Spanish galleon of treasure in lucid, almost cinematic detail: think Pirates of the Caribbean, without Jack Sparrow’s jauntiness.

It’s a fast-paced novel, during the course of which Crichton wholeheartedly buys into the swashbuckling language of 17th century adventures on the High Seas: two of Hunter’s crew are called ‘the Jew’ and ‘the Moor’, and there are plenty of lascivious women around to meet the sailors’ every need. But despite its light-hearted, nautical tone, long pages of description and under-developed characters fail to get the blood pumping. As a quick, effortless read, it works, but it’s unlikely to overtake the likes of Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain as a favourite in Crichton’s canon.

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