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Pirate Latitudes Mass Market Paperback – September 28, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 944 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Crichton, who died in 2008, was known primarily for such high-tech thrillers as Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain. This new novel, found in manuscript form among his papers, will come as a bit of a surprise to many of his fans. It is, of all things, a pirate novel. Set in 1665, it tells the story of Captain Charles Hunter, a privateer who’s hired by the governor of Jamaica’s Port Royal to steal a Spanish galleon and its cargo of gold treasure. Don’t expect to see Jack Sparrow in this story of pirates of the Caribbean, though: Crichton doesn’t play his pirates for laughs. And this is no typical pirate adventure, either: it’s actually a caper novel posing as a high-seas adventure. All the key caper-novel elements are here: the target, the mastermind, the plan, the motley crew, the ruthless villain, the gadgets, the twist, and the turncoat. Crichton keeps us in a constant state of suspense, never revealing quite what his hero, Captain Hunter, has up his sleeve, and the novel ends most unexpectedly. Pirate fans will love the book for its flashy characters and historical authenticity. Crime fans will enjoy the caper-novel structure and the way the author keeps them on their toes. If this really is Crichton’s final book, it’s a splendid send-off: something new, different, and daring. --David Pitt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Unabashed fun.” (Cameron Martin, New York Times)

“Offers unexpected turns and plenty of yo ho ho’s.” (Richard Eisenberg, People (3 out of 4 stars))

“It’s not an ironic pirate novel. It’s not a pirate novel with a secret gimmick. It’s simply an entertaining tale filled with crafty privateers, despicable villains, treasure hoards, double crosses and a sea monster. Go figure.” (Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle)

“A lusty, rollicking 17th century adventure…. History as entertainment…. Crichton has done his homework.” (Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today)

“The plot sucks you in like the giant kraken monster that nearly sinks our hero’s galleon.” (Benjamin Svetsky, Entertainment Weekly)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061929387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061929380
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (944 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Crichton was born in Chicago in 1942. His novels include Next, State of Fear, Prey, Timeline, Jurassic Park, and The Andromeda Strain. He was also the creator of the television series ER. One of the most popular writers in the world, his books have been made into thirteen films, and translated in thirty-six languages. He died in 2008.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I miss Michael Crichton already and was so glad this book was found and published. It's probably not what you're used to when it comes to his medical/ethics thrillers, but can probably be categorized as historical fiction.

He sets the story in 17th century Port Royal, Jamaica, home to all the shady pirates and privateers of the Caribbean. A motley band of pirates head out to storm a Spanish fortress in the Caribbean and capture a ship of Spanish gold. Of course things go amiss and the resulting adventure is a sound one.

The characters are engaging and the plot is tight. This wasn't meant to be "deep" reading, instead it's a fun romp with enough period detail to make you feel as if you're right there with them....personally, I didn't put it down until I turned the last page. It was a fun read and makes me realize how much I'm going to miss this author.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Michael Crichton's "Pirate Latitudes" is everything you're looking for in a pirate adventure. It doesn't necessarily do anything new with the genre, but it will satisfy those who found the popular "Pirates of the Caribbean" films too over-the-top and cartoony.

This (relatively short) novel tells the story of pirate (he prefers "privateer") Charles Hunter and his crew of super-pirates as they embark on a quest for the ultimate prize-- a Spanish treasure galleon. I say "super-pirates" because each of his crew does one or two things extraordinarily well, creating a sort of "who's who" of pirate archetypes. You have the stealth assassin, Sanson, who kills entire ship crews without making a sound. Then there is Bassa, the giant Moor who seems inspired by Fezzik from "The Princess Bride" and who kills with his bare hands. There is Lazue, the quintessential female pirate, who goes about as a man unless it suits her to use her feminine attributes and whose eyes are capable of spotting even the most camouflaged of reefs. There is Enders, the dependable helmsman, who can sail even the bulkiest of ships through the eye of a needle. And finally Don Diego aka "The Jew", the crafty munitions expert, who does something with rat innards you will not believe.

Other pirate tale staples appear as well: cannibals, damsels in distress, storms at sea, and sea monsters. The inclusion of the sea monster surprised me, given Crichton's realistic account of 17th century pirate life up to that point. While my initial reaction was to scoff, I soon found myself going with the idea. Crichton was a man of science, and you get the impression that he is acknowledging the possibility that perhaps the strange stories of sea monsters told by the old seafarers of the past may have had some truth to them.
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Format: Hardcover
It's impossible to know whether Crichton intended this book to be published, or if he wrote it for fun. Considering it was written in 2006, and discovered on his hard drive after his death, it feels like maybe he wasn't rushing it off to his agent for publication.

It's not Crichton in peak form, that's for sure.

While the book is entertaining enough, it's missing what I love most about Crichton ... the research, the education, the intense build of excitement. It's a pirate story, and not a particularly original one ... It's got your storms, your cannibals, your sea monsters, and general pirate treachery. The first half of the book I felt it was unforgivable that they decided to publish this. But the second half was fun enough that I can see it, and of course Spielberg is already working on the movie.

I didn't love it, didn't hate it. I think, had Crichton been ready for publication it would have been better. Less flawed. But it was enjoyable enough, very fast paced and Amazon has a great deal on the hardcover so you almost can't go wrong.
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Format: Hardcover
This pirate tale in its published form would (I believe) be an embarassment to Michael Crichton. As many others have commented, the story is choppy and there's next to no character development. Maybe there's a reason he had left it in his files. Perhaps he was going to go back and flesh in the characters and storyline.

The central plotline (such as it is) involves raiding a Spanish stronghold to capture a galleon filled with treasure. This is accomplished early on with very little detail or excitement. In another instance, the pirates are threatened by blood-thirsty savages... who make a half-hearted attempt to kill Captain Hunter and his crew and then apparently just give up and disapear! Also,one of the givens in most action-oriented thrillers is the villain who does something evil early on. You know that he/she is going to get his/her just desserts by the end of the story, and you look forward to it. In this tale, Hunter comes home to Port Royal after several disjointed (and disappointing) adventures and discovers something dastardly has happened while he was away. But, not to worry, the whole thing is sorted out in no time... and with little or no imagination.

I've been a fan of Michael Crichton's since reading The Andromeda Strain as a young boy. This just isn't in the same class as the rest of his works, although I will admit there was some fun to it. My advice: If you feel you must buy this book, wait 'til it comes out in the $7.99 paperback. Or, better yet, borrow it from the library or a friend.
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