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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

Genre: Historical Fiction, Pirate Fiction

Setting: 1665, the Caribbean Sea

The British colony of Port Royal in Jamaica in the 1665 was a nest of knaves and cutthroats.  Captain Charles Hunter makes Port Royal his home port.   Now, the difference between being a privateer or a pirate depends on what side you are on.  Piracy is illegal.  Privateering is approved by the government. Hunter is a privateer.

Hunter is a well liked captain.  His crew mates trust his fairness and  unique planning skills.  The ladies of Port Royal admire his dashing good looks.  And his successful ventures make lots of people rich, including his crew,  many of the towns businessmen, and local British government officials.

When he gets wind of a Spanish galleon laden with gold and ripe for the picking, Hunter is ready to go. His voyage across the the Caribbean reads like the plot of a blockbuster pirate movie.  He is captured by an evil Spanish captain.  He and his crew make several dramatic escapes.  There are desperate sea going battles.  Hunter and his crew face cannibals, a hurricane, and the dreaded kraken sea monster.  When they return to port, they face piracy charges and are condemned to death.  How Hunter survives each challenge makes this book hard to put down.

After his death in 2008, this novel was discovered as a complete manuscript in his files.  It was a nice read.  There was lots of great action without too much unneeded description.  I enjoyed the book.  Many of Crichton's novels have been made into movies.  This novel would make a great film.

Pirate Latitudes

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