One of Michael Crichton’s last books, “Pirate Latitudes,” tells the story of a character who exerts a lot of effort with a less-than-ideal result. This novel follows Captain Charles Hunter, a pirate in 17th century Jamaica, as he takes a Spanish galleon from a heavily fortified post in the Caribbean.
The amount of realism in this novel is astounding. Crichton uses words specific to the era to describe everything from a woman’s dress to the landscape. His language immerses the reader in the time period and builds the stage for an engrossing story. Most importantly, Crichton does not sensationalize pirates. “Pirate Latitudes” shows the reality of being a pirate, not simply the quest for treasure. This sets the book apart from others in the genre. Crichton puts more of the focus on the journey rather than the end result, which develops the characters quite well and makes their stories intriguing.
All of the characters within “Pirate Latitudes” exemplify the extremes of life in the 17th century. Their varied backgrounds keep the novel interesting while spreading out the action. Crichton takes the time between important scenes to explain the background of various characters. In addition to slowing down an action-packed novel, this helps readers empathize with the characters and build emotional connections to them. In the end, these emotional connections build the suspense characteristic of Crichton’s novels.
Most importantly, the action-packed story keeps readers on their toes. The variety in the characters makes “Pirate Latitudes” unpredictable. Just when a reader thinks he knows what will happen next, everything changes. The plot twists set this novel apart from others in the genre and make it one of Crichton’s more interesting books.
Sadly, there is one downside to this otherwise amazing novel – some parts do not seem finished. The lack of description during a few key scenes detracts from the tale, and although the lack of description gives readers more license with their interpretations, it does not fit with the rest of the story. These scenes require much more description than what Crichton wrote. As a result, the novel suffered and feels incomplete.
However, “Pirate Latitudes” is still a good read. The novel itself reflects a pirate’s life without an overwhelming amount of information. The characters fit together and their adventures are believable. The only problems arise during some of the more important scenes where the lack of description takes away from the plot. Overall, “Pirate Latitudes” is an interesting story that will keep the casual reader, bookworm, or pirate enthusiast entertained.
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