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March 1, 2010 | by  | in Books | [ssba]

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

Books

First thing’s first: I wanted to read this book the second I heard about it. A book found whole and complete on Crichton’s computer after his death that no one had ever heard about? This is the stuff of pop-culture urban legend. Not only that, but one of the most succesful and prolific writers of the 90s sallying forth with a swashbuckling tale of piratical derring-do! The only thing that could be more awesome is if it was pirates versus ninjas, and frankly the world is not ready for such a deluge of awesome. But this was just the buildup for me.

Pirate Latitudes is an absolute blast to read. It hooks you in the first few pages and then drags you by the scruff of your neck to the very last page. There is no extraneous fluff in the entire book. Everything drives the story forward. It is rare to find a book that is so tightly focused on telling its story, but it is certainly a refreshing change of pace. The characters are all memorable, and there is no fear of needing to swing back through the book to remember who is who and what they are doing and why.

There are some attempts at addressing some issues, socio-political and otherwise, but the standout highlight for me was the level of historical detail. I loved pirate history when I was a kid, and from the ships to the cannons to the streets in Port Royal, the historical detail (and application of period-appropriate detail) was breathtaking and engrossing.

I’ll admit that it only took me three hours to read, cover to cover. But I loved every second of it, and look forward to being engrossed by it again and again. It will almost certainly be optioned for a movie. The tedious inevitability of this offers up only the hope that it will be as entertaining as a movie as it is as a testament to a fabulously entertaining, thought-provokingly intelligent and terribly missed author.

R.I.P. Michael Crichton. We will not see your like again soon.

Pirate Latitudes
by Michael Crichton
HarperCollins $36.95

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