When you think of Michael Crichton, you think of dinosaurs, emergency rooms and pirates. Pirate Latitudes is the title of a Michael Crichton manuscript discovered after the author's passing and is as the title implies... all about pirates. This is not Crichton's first piece of historical fiction based on real events and people. Eaters of the Dead, was the tale of a Muslim who finds himself in the company of Vikings in the early eighth century A.D. Crichton has delved into the past in other works as well such as "The Great Train Robbery" and "Time Machine".
Pirate Latitudes, is probably the most entertaining of them all. It is a wonderful pirate story. The characters are interesting and unique and in one case, incapable of speech. The novel follows the Captain as he plans his raid, secures a cover story and assembles his crew of misfits and ne'er do wells in search of Spanish gold. Although it takes place on the high seas, it is truly a crime novel. It comes with all the joys associated with the genre with double crosses, a big score and trouble all around. The pirate setting however adds flavor to the format and structure of the novel, making the story seem very realistic. That being said, a creature of the deep even make appearances through out the novel.
As a young man, I grew up reading and loving Michael Crichton novels, and this book was no different. Crichton's simple, and insightful style makes the reader feel clever. You read along learning and deducing what challenges or changes might come next in the story all the while never really being sure how the novel will end but know that no matter what the outcome you will be happy with it.
Reviewed by Andrew Swanson
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/24/2009