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On Stranger Tides Mass Market Paperback – April 26, 2011


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006209453X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062094537
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. World Fantasy Award–winner Powers (Three Days to Never) demonstrates a precise control of complex narratives in this reprint of his rollicking and enchanting 1987 novel. Puppeteer John Chandagnac, bound for Jamaica to recover stolen money from his uncle, becomes Jack Shandy after pirates attack his ship and force him to join their crew. Shandy's struggle to accept his new life grounds the story for readers, even as Blackbeard and vodun magicians whisk everyone away to dreamlike lands where the Fountain of Youth itself awaits. The chaotic sea battles sing, though at times key events happen so quickly that they get lost in the shuffle as Jack tries to comprehend where he's going and what's at stake. This dark fantasy tale will appeal not just to pirate fans but also to anyone who appreciates Powers's talent for blending the most unlikely elements into a brilliantly cohesive whole. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“One of the most original and innovative writers of fantasy currently working….The quality of Powers’s prose never falters….His writing defies characterization and he never repeats himself.” (Washington Post)

“[On Stranger Tides] promises marvels and horrors, and delivers them all. You’ll love the characters, you’ll stay awake all night reading it, and when you finally do sleep, you’ll find this story playing through your dreams.” (Orson Scott Card)

“Tim Powers is an uncommon literary talent….Exceedingly readable….If heavenly muses were to put Dean Koontz, John Le Carré and Robert Parker into a creative blender, then molded the mix into a brand new writer, the result would be something akin to Tim Powers.” (Denver Post)

“Powers [has] considerable gifts.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Powers has forged a style of narrative uniquely his own, one filled with sharply drawn characters, fully imagined settings, elaborate underpinnings that pull all rugs out from under us and let us glimpse terrible, ragged floors beneath.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Tim Powers has long been one of my absolutely favorite writers, those whose new books I snatch up as soon as they appear….The qualities I most admire in him [are] intelligence, narrative sparkle, great dialogue, speculative imagination, and emotional power.” (Peter Straub)

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Customer Reviews

What a great story, but then pretty much everything Mr Powers writes is that.
Kindle Customer
The first third of the book is captivating, but then the story enfolds in stops and starts the rest of the way, wrapping up way too quickly at the end.
Flash
I loved Tim Powers' mix of fantasy and history and adventure when I first read this book in 1986.
A. KAPLAN

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Beau Yarbrough VINE VOICE on December 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Sure, "Treasure Island" is the best pirate story of all time -- but it's by a narrow, narrow margin. While Stevenson was a heck of a fantasy writer -- check out his "Bottle Imp" if you doubt it -- Tim Powers is perhaps the best fantasy writer most fans have never heard of.
And in typical Powers fashion, in "On Stranger Tides," he tosses in everything he thinks he might need in a pirate novel -- historical figures, naval action, a noble man in a bad situation, voodoo, jungles and so on -- and a few things only he would think to link to the rest and comes up with another hit, and my favorite Powers novel.
The action here careens back and forth across the Caribbean and if Powers isn't wrestling crazy ideas to the ground as he does in "The Stress of Her Regard" or "The Anubis Gates," it's only because, this time around, the play's the thing.
This is a book I loan out to all of my sea-loving friends, knowing that they'll devour it and hand it back to me, more battered than ever, but it's a book I can't keep to myself. Now, if only a hardbound edition would come out, so that I have a chance at actually having a copy in decent condition.
This is a "grab it if you see it" buy for fans of fantasy, pirates or wild adventure stories. "On Stranger Tides" is a dynamite novel by one of the best genre authors working today.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mary Jacco on July 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
My friend Dean and I regard Tim Powers as one of today's best writers that hardly anyone knows. We can only hope loyal readers such as ourselves using forums such as this one can get the word of Mr. Powers vast talents out to the masses!!
Interestingly enough, though this is one of Mr. Powers' earlier works, it's the one I waited the longest to read. No apparent reason, but I wish I wouldn't have waited so long. It fits right in with the author's penchant for offbeat plots. In the past, Mr. Powers has written about ghost hunters, gamblers with a sense of the occult, and other eccentricities. "On Stranger Tides" introduces us to the world of Caribbean pirates with a bent for the occult. It is not as dark as other Tim Powers novels, but is every bit as powerful and entertaining.
The story takes place in the early 18th century and is a confabulation. That is, it is a work of fiction that includes in its cast, actual, historical personages who lived during the time. In this book, one-time Bahamian governor Woodes Rogers, infamous pirates Stede Bonnet and Edward Thatch a.k.a. Blackbeard, Colonel William Rhett, the Receiver General of the Carolina Province, and a wildly anachronistic Juan Ponce de Leon, cross paths, and sometimes swords with the unlikely buccaneer, Jack Shandy, Phil Davies, the pirate with a heart of gold, and Benjamin Hurwood, a one-time Oxford don gone insane with grief over the death of his wife Margaret. As always, Mr. Powers' research and attention to detail shine through as we are given lessons in history, geography, and voodoo while we follow the romps of the picaresque heroes of this book. Yes, the pirates are the heroes. . .
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on December 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
For some absolutely bizarre reason some person gave this book to my grandfather (whose favorite book is Popular Science) thinking that he might like it. So that explains how I wound up with this novel, which I had actually been seeking out for some time. And it turns out to be an awful fun read, not as consistently dazzling as The Anubis Gates or Last Call, but definitely falling into the solid entertainment catagory. Powers turns back to the clock to the time of the pirates, and into that pot throws voodoo magic, zombies, sorcerers and the Fountain of Youth. His plotting remains are deft as ever, although everything feels relatively straightforward this time, most of the major twists you can see at least a portion of them coming from somewhere, there isn't a huge amount of complexity going on and overall it's probably safe to say not a lot really happens. But even Powers on auto-pilot has much to offer and his depiction of the pirate community is great fun and the introduction of the fantasy elements never feels forced or contrived, the journey to the Fountain of Youth is one of the book's creepiest and most magical moments. And even though there's not a huge amount going on, Powers keeps the action coming and moves things along swiftly enough that at least you're rarely bored, even if you're being more entertained than amazed. To date, Powers hasn't written a bad book and he still has tons more imagination than most of his writing peers so that his novels are at the very worst merely interesting instead of jaw droppingly good. That's the case here, you'll find the book a pleasant enough time but it certainly doesn't rank with his best work. Still, it's great fun and who said being merely entertaining was bad? This should be next on the list after you've whetted your appetite with The Anubis Gates or Last Call. You won't be disappointed.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitehead on April 28, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Caribbean, 1718. Jack Chandagnac - Jack Shandy - is sailing to Haiti to reclaim some property when his ship is boarded by pirates. Shandy is recruited onto the pirate crew and becomes aware of a bizarre conspiracy that is unfolding between one of the passengers, Benjamin Hurwood, and the feared pirate Blackbeard, involving Hurwood's daughter Beth and the mythical Fountain of Youth. Shandy is soon drawn into a strange and magical quest set against the backdrop of the dying days of piracy in the Caribbean.

On Stranger Tides is arguably Tim Powers' most well-known and influential novel. Published in 1988, it has been quoted as one of the primary inspirations behind both Ron Gilbert's splendid Monkey Island computer games and also the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, to such an extent that the film producers bought the rights to the novel and the imminent fourth film in the series is both named for and draws on some of the plot elements of the book. Yet it's not quite the swashbuckling, good-time adventure that the those later works would suggest.

On Stranger Tides is rich and full of vibrant colour that brings alive the setting, but it's also weird, offbeat and often downright bizarre. Jack Shandy is a reluctant hero who spends a fair amount of time moping around and musing on his bad luck rather than getting on with business (especially in the second half of the novel, dissipating dramatic tension rather than building it up) whilst Beth is a fairly weak character lacking much motivation, rather disappointing given there aren't many female characters in the novel (in this regard the inspired works have done a better job; Beth is no Elaine Marley and isn't even an Elizabeth Swann).
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