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Customer Review

298 of 328 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pirate-y., November 24, 2009
This review is from: Pirate Latitudes: A Novel (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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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 25, 2009 8:57:54 AM PST
Mark Cresse says:
Factual detail and a tight and easily folloMichwed plot line, combined with technical information are characteristics of Michael Crichton. The book has what appears appropriate historical detail, but I'd suspect it was found on his hard droive as a work in progress to be thoroughly infused with "Crichton Facts". Interesting read, but obviouslyu a work in progress. Mediocre book by an excellent author.

Posted on Oct 11, 2010 8:35:06 AM PDT
My sentiments exactly. I suspect what they found was a rough outline which was "fleshed out" by in-house talent.

Posted on Oct 21, 2010 8:31:20 AM PDT
I agree that this was a work in progress. Otherwise, Crichton should have studk to what he knows best - pseudoscientific fiction. He clearly knew verfy little about warships and other sailing vessels of the period.
His solution of moving 16 heavy guns from starboard to port on the gun deck of something like a 32 gun frigate was absolutely ridiculous, even if a crew the size of his could have done it. The guns would have fired through gunports. It would have been necessary to pierce the sides with 16 more ports. Of course the vessel would have been rendered completely unstable. This is only one of at least two dozen incorrect or completely wrong details of sailing vessels of the period. I believe that Crichton would have have made a real attempt to clean up the errors before publication.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2010 11:40:46 AM PDT
My Opinion says:
Exactly my feelings. This is a corn-ball story that was entertaining, but not of Michael Crichton quality.

Posted on Nov 12, 2010 12:05:10 PM PST
My friend bought this at Dulles IA to pass the time on our flight to the best coast. She gave up it after an hour, saying it was too stupid and Deppishly familiar to bother reading further. I picked it up, read two chapters and gave it to another passenger. Ridiculous, contrived plot. Characters that have no character and bad guys that are made of literary mortar. Save your shekels and pick up a Pete Dexter novel instead.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2010 4:20:08 PM PST
Daboomer says:
If we're discussing the period's naval warfare, the Spanish ship of the line never would have targeted the hull. Knowing the treasure ship was outgunned and undermanned, not to mention loaded with treasure, the Spaniards would have concentrated on the rigging, masts and rudder, disabled the ship, captured and then sailed it home.

Posted on Jan 18, 2011 4:29:19 AM PST
DL says:
Wasn't part of this book written by ghost writers? Which explains the quality I guess.

Posted on Jun 4, 2011 9:20:44 AM PDT
Ah but it was a fun read, and isn't that the point after all?

Posted on Jul 6, 2011 10:22:54 AM PDT
Joe Guiney says:
This book was FANTASTIC!! These wishy-washt "critics" don't know what they're talking about. She misses "the research.." Read "Travels" where Crichton talks about going to a maritime antiquities museum in Jamaica in 1983, while researching this book that was discovered 23 years later.
Listen, I personally wrote a little nautical historical fiction novel that was a parody of a Patrick O'Brian novel--The Obversant Voyage A Parody, by O. Brian Patrick (available POD through Lulu)--and I can tell you that these stories don't just make themselves up. All the way through Pirate Lattitudes I kept turning the pages going: "HOW did he EVER think of that!!??" There's a trial toward the book's end that is absolutely vintage Crichton.
I've read all of Crichton's books, and in fact, I have most of them in hard cover in my library. This book is every bit as good as any of them, and to me, it's one of my favorites.
And to those folks out there that I envy so, who have not read any of Crichton's stuff, let me say you can hardly go wrong with any of them, but my big favorites, along with Pirates, are The Great Train Robbery, Eaters of the Dead, and Next.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2011 6:00:24 PM PDT
what gives you the right to call me a wishy washy critic?

If you are wondering "How did he ever think of that?" Watch any pirate movie ever made ... that's how.
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