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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

PIRATE LATITUDES by Michael Crichton

Published in 2009.

The year is 1665 and the English colony of Jamaica is surrounded by a constellation of Spanish colonies. The Caribbean is in a near-perpetual state of war as English privateers attack Spanish treasure galleons hauling literally tons of New World silver and gold to Spain.

Charles Hunter is the captain of an English privateer ship named Cassandra (or, he is simply a pirate when Spain and England are not at war). He has learned that Spain has a fortress on a remote island called Matanceros to protect ships that attempt, but fail to make the trip to Spain. They cannot return to their port of origin alone. In fact, the less time they are alone and exposed to privateers, the better. So, Spain has built an impregnable fortress to protect such ships. 

Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

At least it is supposed to be impregnable. Hunter is very sure that he has figured out a way that the perfect team can infiltrate the fort and then take the ship that it is supposed to protect. And, he has just learned that a ship full of treasure has taken refuge in the bay at Matanceros - just waiting for him to come and take it....

After Michael Crichton passed away in 2008 this completed and previously unknown book was found on his computer. This novel is a complete story but it is just feels like it was just not done. Parts of it hum along and feel like a Crichton story. There is intensity, science, and mystery. For example, the hurricane scene and the cannon scene and the abandoned island. Those scenes are all together and they feel like they have been worked over with a lot of care. Other scenes, such as the last few chapters, feel like a first or second draft. This makes for an uneven read, which really can't be helped. Crichton fans will want to read the book but they will wonder how truly great this short novel could have been if he had only had the time to really finish it.

I rate this novel 3 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Pirate Latitudes.

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