Welcome to a brand new episode ofLate night show with Books. Our guest for today is Pirate Latitudes PL Hrrrrrrrr SPL, how do you feel about being out here in the world Most of the people believe you were not supposed to see light at all.PL Gods blood Who are these rats butWell, Sreyas, there is some truth in it I have been working with Mr.Crichton forthan three decades on this story Alas, We were nowhere near a serviceable tale And with Crichton s death, all hopes were lost for me SBut then, you were found.PL Yes, someone poked around and found me They released me to the world to bring back sizable booty for them SHaha, because you are a pirate.PL Takes the sword out The politically correct term is Privateer SUh, my sincere apologies, PL Awkward pause So the total amount of pages is just over 300 PL Aye, and it is divided into six parts SOh, can you tell usabout these parts and what it contains PL The first part introduces the characters and direction of the story The story opens in English settlement of Jamaica in the year of 1665 The Governor of that settlement finds out about Spanish Galleon containing valuable treasures staying in island fortress of Matanceros The Governor summons Capt Charles Hunter, a privateer, and hires him to raid the impenetrable fortress He agrees for a price and sets out to recruit a team SOh, Like The Great Train Robbery You get an impossible task, a great planner, and a dedicated team.PL Aye, and what a team it was We got a French assassin, Gunpowder specialist with three fingers missing, a woman pirate who cross dresses as a man, a helmsman who is also a barber surgeon and a huge black man who. SLet me guess, he acts as the muscle.PL Aye, and he is mute SWhat PL and he is very superstitious SThat s a terrible team PL Oh, shut your hole Anyways, our heroes set sail on ship Cassandra at the end of part one SSounds like an intriguing story Well, tha..PL In part two, the ship gets chased by a mysterious black ship SNice PL In part three, our crew enters the Island of Matanceros SThis is really interesting I love the fact that this was inspired by true events Sounds very realistic and..PL At the end of part three, the crew glimpses a KRAKEN SA what PL In part four, the crew fights for their life, there are canons, plans, hurricanes, a hint of witchcraft SHuh PL IN PART FIVE WE HAVE HURRICANE, CANNIBALS, POISON DARTS, KRAKEN ATTACK SKinda overstuffed, isn t it PL IN LAST PART, WE HAVE BETRAYAL, JUDGMENT, REVENGE, SHARKS, SWHY ARE YOU SHOUTING PL BECAUSE THAT S WHAT PIRATES DO SI THOUGHT IT WAS ABOUT PRIVATEERS.PL IT SAYS PIRATES IN THE GODAMN TITLE, YOU DUMBASS STHIS IS A STUPID BOOK.PL Cocks the gun WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY SHow the hell did you get that thing through security You know what, let s just cool down Deep breathes, deeeeep breaths Now tell me what you felt at the end of your journey PL It started out just fine, but after we crossed seas, it became a journey to hell itself When it all ended, I was relieved Needless to say, I won t be taking this ride again SHey, That s exactly how I felt about this dumb book.PLCocks the gun and shoots Sreyas in his face .Sreyas s Ghost Totally worth it. Scanning the reviews of this fantastic pirate novel, I m a bit stunned at how many low ratings there are Two important things for those reviewers to bear in mind 1 this is way outside Crichton s normal genre, and so readers will look askance at this venture into uncharted waters couldn t resist the pun , and 2 the book was found on Crichton s computer after he died, so it may well be that he wasn t finished with it.On that last point, I agree with some reviewers that the book lapses into being slow in places Again, perhaps these were sections Crichton intended to revise and let s not forget that the book would never have made it to print without the publisher s editors getting a go round at it yes, they have now that it was found and published, but not with the benefit of the back and forth that happens between authors and editors , but even so, I think even the slow sections contribute to the story Characterization is very difficult to do in the midst of action, so most writers do most of that in what could be called slow sections of a book Nonetheless, it is fair to level criticism at these slow parts.In terms of the story itself, it s a fantastic story about a Spanish, gold bearing ship in the 1660s that is holed up in a garrisoned Spanish island port The protagonist commandeers the vessel and a new set of fast moving adventure segments begins Not that the bulk of the book was void of adventure prior to that it wasn t I love the characterization Crichton builds, and that is the one part of this story that I would say DOES fit with standard Crichton the way he builds his characters with attention to their history as well as without being too overt about it their psyche.On the whole, this is a great book For pirate story lovers, this is a must read For Crichton fans, it is a must read For the average readerwell, you can do a lot worse, I can assure you of that. I have seen many reviews critical of this book, but I thought it was a great adventure with interesting characters and twists Perhaps people are critical of the fact that this is unlike Crichton s other titles, but much like Eaters of the Dead and The Great Train Robbery it is great, well researched historical fiction Note between Latitudes, Eaters, and Train Robbery, I liked this one the best Pirates Huzzah What could possibly ruin a rollicking, randy, riotous pirate adventure Plenty Crichton died before this was published and in all likelihood he wasn t finished with it I would like to think that if he d lived he would have worked on this , rounded out the characters, twisted up the plot a bit, and run it through the edit mill a few times before handing it off to the publisher I mean there are some passages towards the end that are on the very edge of not making any sense I picked this book up on a lark, having never read Crichton before, but having a love of pirate adventures The adventure part was alright It s how the two star rating was obtained However, this probably shouldn t have seen the light of day. Jamaica InIs A Rough Outpost Of The English Crown, A Minor Colony Holding Out Against The Vast Supremacy Of The Spanish Empire Port Royal, Jamaica S Capital, A Cut Throat Town Of Taverns, Grog Shops, And Bawdy Houses, Is Devoid Of London S Luxuries Life Here Can End Swiftly With Dysentery Or A Dagger In Your Back But For Captain Charles Hunter It Is A Life That Can Also Lead To Riches, If He Abides By The Island S Code In The Name Of His Majesty King Charles II Of England, Gold In Spanish Hands Is Gold For The Taking And Law In The New World Is Made By Those Who Take It Into Their HandsWord In Port Is That The Spanish Treasure Galleon El Trinidad, Fresh From New Spain, Is Stalled In Nearby Matanceros Harbor Awaiting Repairs Heavily Fortified, The Impregnable Spanish Outpost Is Guarded By The Blood Swiller Cazalla, A Favorite Commander Of King Philip IV Himself With The Governor S Backing, Hunter Assembles A Roughneck Crew To Infiltrate The Enemy Island And Commandeer The Galleon, Along With Its Fortune In Spanish Gold The Raid Is As Perilous As The Bloody Legends Of Matanceros Suggest, And Hunter Will Lose Than One Man Before He Finds Himself On The Island S Shores, Where Dense Jungle And The Firepower Of Spanish Infantry Are All That Stand Between Him And The TreasureWith The Help Of His Cunning Crew, Hunter Hijacks El Trinidad And Escapes The Deadly Clutches Of Cazalla, Leaving Plenty Of Carnage In His Wake But His Troubles Have Just Begun Since I greatly enjoyed Crichton s Timeline and Jurassic Park though I have yet to review the latter , I hoped to find a work of similar quality in this posthumous novel, though I knew that its ratings here on Goodreads varied widely As usual, my reaction is my own and as is sometimes the case, it falls somewhere between the extremes.Crichton, of course, was best known for his science fiction Here, he branches out into historical fiction, in a tale that doesn t really have any SF elements at all Some readers might assume that the references to a kraken are an exception to this but the description makes it clear that the creature envisioned is actually a giant squid, a marine animal that really does exist, and is thought to be the source of a good deal of pre modern sea monster lore But his time travel novel Timeline also has a mostly historical setting, and though I haven t read it myself his Eaters of the Dead, despite having an SF element, is also set in a historical milieu So this isn t a total departure from the rest of his work and it exhibits the same obvious concern for meticulously detailed factual research, and the same zest for gripping, high intensity action that s evident in the other Crichton works I ve read In those respects, it doesn t disappoint Some reviewers complain that protagonist Capt Hunter faces too many varied and successive dangerous challenges for the plot to be realistic But we re dealing here with an action novel jeopardy and derring do is what it s about, and from that perspective, it isn t a defect that it has a lot of it The characterizations are vivid, and the 17th century Caribbean setting is very well realized.Obviously, this is pirate fiction a sub genre of historical fiction I haven t read much else of, except for Treasure Island, though I have a few other pirate novels on my to read shelf So by definition, this is focused on characters who attack and forcibly plunder other people s ships To be sure, Charles Hunter and others of his ilk are particular about drawing a distinction between themselves and pirates if you call them that, you may get challenged to a duel They stress the fact that they re privateers they don t prey on the ships of their fellow Englishmen, only on those of the national enemy, the Spanish To be sure, in 1665, England and Spain are nominally at peace, which creates interesting legal difficulties for privateers but in practice, in the Caribbean the agents of both countries prey on each other s shipping with as much abandon as they would in a declared war To be fair, privateer captains and crews might think of themselves as fighting the enemy in a war, not as seagoing outlaws And even novels dealing directly with pirates as such aren t necessarily morally nihilistic light shines most clearly against darkness, so dark moral environments often serve to bring out the goodness of decent characters who inhabit them.For me, though, the main problem here is that light is largely nonexistent in the darkness that Crichton creates Like Stevenson, he definitely does NOT romanticize piracy on the contrary, he depicts both the physical and moral grunginess of the Pirate Latitudes with a remorseless realism that isn t necessarily a bad thing But unlike Stevenson s cast of characters, none of those introduced here are really very likeable self interest, greed, and lust are pretty much everybody s main motivations for behavior, from the governor of Jamaica on down to his lowly serving maid, and much respect for human life would be as uncommon an attitude as genuine belief in Santa Claus We re very much in the same uniformly dark and morally pessimistic landscape of classical noir Port Royal hasin common with Sam Spade s San Francisco than the passing of nearly three centuries would make you think Yes, Hunter thinks he has a certain honor, some characters are farevil than others the psychopath Cazalla being the worst , and some have legitimate grievances and tragic formative circumstances that we can sympathize with We can root for Hunter and his crew, given their opponents villainy, and even give some of them a degree of respect But in general, this isn t a novel that has a very positive moral tendency, or an optimistic or positive message That differs from the other Crichton novels I ve read, which have a real moral vision An added criticism would be that all females here, from professional prostitutes to married upper class socialites, are pictured as sexually promiscuous and insatiable This isn t realism, anythan an imaginary universe where nobody s genuinely good is realistic rather, it s pretty much a fantasy concocted by males of whatever age who are mature enough physically to have sexual desire, but not mature enough psychologically to control it responsibly Finally, there are also several places where sloppy editing is evident, or cases where characters know or do something that Crichton wants them to for plot purposes, but realistically wouldn t, IMO And while a person can hide underwater for a long time by breathing through a hollow reed placed in the mouth, he she would first have to be in a place where there would actually be access to a reed Bad language here isn t any worse orabundant than you d expect, given the type of milieu these people inhabit and while there s a fair amount of sex, it isn t explicit Violence here is pervasive, though, and frequently pretty graphic if this were a movie and it s reportedly been optioned for one , it would definitely be rated R on that account.A final note despite the realistic sounding details of the short Epilogue, that explains what eventually happened to the various surviving characters, none of the Epilogue is factual Hunter and all of the other characters are fictional creations, and the plot isn t directly based on any real events. This is not the way for a talented writer to go out If Chrichton had lived and had the time to revise, edit, etc., I m sure this would have been much better. I was so happy to hear they were publishing this book Crichton s death was so sudden and unexpected I literally mourned the untold stories we lost with his passing.Told as something of arealistic , less Disney Pirates of the Carribean, Crichton weaves the tale of Captain Charles Hunter s greatest raid of a Spanish treasure ship From the first chapter, we are placed in the adventure and it ends up being a quick, fun ride.The story was pure Chrichton, well told, detailed, obviously well researched, but the beginning left something to be desired Usually with his books I can quickly choose a character to root for as well as one to hate The plot of this book didn t suffer, but the little character quirks and ticks I ve come to love him for were missing I hope this was because he wasn t quite finished I ve never written a novel, so don t know if this is possible, but the Crichton character magic showed up from page 187, chapter 27, Monkey Bay The entire flavor became richer,detailed, exciting Is it possible he had already fine tuned the second half of the book and was planning on doing the same to the first half It seemed that way.Had he lived, I bet this could have been a five star book The story itslef was worthy of it now, but the lack in the first half was worth a star less for me I will miss him. Welcome to the good ship Cassandra She will take you on exhilarating adventure on the high seas of the Carribean, looking for unknown treasures on a Spanish war ship You will meet her Captain and come to know his ways and why he finds himself surrounded by a crew of unforgetable characters that you are going to love getting to know And know them you will This is great stuff that just keeps happening page after page I guess in the end, it is what is missing from this story that I just cannot stop thinking about Port Royal and all it s people, not to mention Mantanceros and what surely must have transpired there These stories, sadly remain untold and their characters are summarilly dismissed I do so wish I could have gotten to know them and the events that occurred while the Cassandra was at sea That folks would have been a truly great book Such remains our loss. First, did you know that Michael Crichton is dead This is the first of two books published posthumously, the second being Micro I ve read a little Michael Crichton in the past Sphere was wondeful, Prey was OK, Timeline was intriguing but ultimately corny I have no idea what lead me to pick up Pirate Lattitudes, but it was fun It is a strong entry in the Pirates versus Ninjas debate, and lends a much needed blow for the Pirates Set in the Carribean primarily Jamaica in the mid 1600 s, the protagonist is swashbuckling I ve used that word twice in two book reviews now privateer Captain Hunter At this point you may be asking yourself what the difference is between a pirate and a privateer Turns out pirates are honest about their plundering, privateers do it under the guise of official cover You know why I loved this book Because I didn t have to think There s no theme There s no moral There s nothing but a good old fashioned adventure story Cannons Swordfights Explosions Escapes Huricanes Hell, there s even a damsel in distress In deference to his avowed profession as a novelist, Crichton obliges the reader with a nod towards a plot twist, though if it were a snowboard trick it would barely be a 180 Fast forward to the end impossible mission completed, loot secured, damsel liberated if you know what I mean , and bad guys dead It s fun Read it.