The novel was discovered on Crichton’s computer after his death and is only his third novel I’d characterize as historical fiction, the other two being The Great Train Robbery and Eaters of the Dead. (I’m not counting Timeline, even though much of the novel takes place in the Middle Ages, because it’s really about time travel, which I consider science fiction.) I found the novel to be a well-researched and fun read, especially when imagining what the Caribbean must have been like in the days of pirates and privateers.
I’ve reviewed the novel on Goodreads.com and Amazon and posted a copy after the picture of the book’s cover. But with thoughts of the Caribbean still dancing in my head, I wonder: has anyone else read a novel about pirates that’s worth reading?
At barely 300 pages, Pirate Latitudes is a quick read that will remind Michael Crichton fans of The Great Train Robbery – except with pirates instead of Victorian-era thieves.
Set in 1665, Pirate Latitudes involves a team of privateers, each with unique talents, who are hired to capture a treasure-laden galleon from an island fortress ruled by a brutal Spanish commander. The novel’s protagonist is Captain Charles Hunter, a Harvard educated privateer from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, but it’s his crew that makes the novel so enjoyable, including a Jewish explosives expert, a French assassin, a female marksman (who disguises herself as a man), and a mute strongman nicknamed The Moor. In addition to a seemingly impossible mission, there’s a thrilling battle at sea, a hurricane, and a twist at the end. This is not Crichton’s best novel, and I’m not even sure he was finished with it since the novel was discovered on his computer after his death. But I’m glad it was published. Pirate Latitudes is a thoroughly enjoyable read set during a fascinating period of history.