The Caribbean, 1665. A remote colony of the English Crown, the island of Jamaica holds out against the vast supremacy of the Spanish empire. Port Royal, its capital, is a cutthroat town of taverns, grog shops, and bawdy houses. In this steamy climate there's a living to be made, a living that can end swiftly by disease - or by dagger.
For Captain Charles Hunter, gold in Spanish hands is gold for the taking, and the law of the land rests with those ruthless enough to make it. Word in port is that the galleon El Trinidad, fresh from New Spain, is awaiting repairs in a nearby harbor. Heavily fortified, the impregnable harbor is guarded by the bloodthirsty Cazalla, a favorite commander of the Spanish king himself. With backing from a powerful ally, Hunter assembles a crew of ruffians to infiltrate the enemy outpost and commandeer El Trinidad, along with its fortune in Spanish gold. The raid is as perilous as the bloodiest tales of island legend, and Hunter will lose more than one man before he even sets foot on foreign shores, where dense jungle and the firepower of Spanish infantry stand between him and the treasure...
Pirate Latitudes is Michael Crichton at his best: a rollicking adventure tale pulsing with relentless action, crackling atmosphere, and heart-pounding suspense.
©2009 Michael Crichton; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
Great historical references, but left a little to be desired in plot
I teach. I Listen. I trust your judgment as a fellow listener.
Poorly developed characters plague this pitiful pirate (privateer) tale, each possessing some super-human characteristic to compensate for their otherwise flat contributions to the story. The protagonist, a combination of James Bond and Spiderman, does the impossible so many times that the reader starts to wonder if the text is more science fiction fantasy than pirate story. Huge gaps during action sequences leave the listener saying, "Hey what about...?
The book quickly withers from the unbelievable to the ridiculous when a sea monster attacks the ship of misfit anti-heroes. This event is so silly that an otherwise passable book is ruined for the sake of a few readers who expect Crichton to instill weird critters in his stories.
Don't waste your credit...
I completely enjoyed this audiobook! While I agree that this isn't Crighton at his best, it's an absolutely fun story. Pirate Latitudes has everything you'd expect from a pirate tale: hurricanes, port governors, privateers, Spanish galleons, buried treasure, witchcraft, letters of marque, cannibals, daring escapes, sea monsters, sex, scandal, rum... and, of course, pirates. I could go on and on! Don't expect absolute fantasy like the Pirates of the Caribbean films - this one is more firmly rooted in reality. John Bedford Lloyd does a great job reading - I loved the accents and other characteristics he brings to the story.
I find it difficult to imagine that Michael Crichton really wrote this book. The characters seem to have stepped from a comic book; the plot from a radio serial of the 50's and the narrator, while very fine in some of his work, should have stayed away from trying the "languid British aristocracy" style. Very few choices from Audible have disappointed me. This one joins the short list.
I really don't care whether or not Crichton wrote this not, or if he did, if it's one of his earlier works. It is a boatload of fun to listen to and that's what matters.
The narrator works - he has a lovely voice, distinguishes the characters, and reads at the right pace.
The story works - it's a well-crafted, atmospheric,cohesive tale full of action and interesting characters. I was mesmerized by Port Royale, it's politics, pirates and precarious position in the 17th century Carribbean. It's a swashbuckling yarn that feels grounded in real history.
I'll be listening to it again - on vacation, driving in the car, doing the ironing, grocery shopping, walking the dog ......
I will miss Michael Crichton!
My guess is this was an 80% complete outline.
It doesn't have the researched detail MC's stories usually have, but a fun listen in any case. Some good characters and some pretty neat facts about the days of pirates.--worth a credit
Mike, New Canaan, CT
I found Pirate Latitudes entertaining but true to Michael Crichton's formula of far too many characters. I always seem to enjoy his stories and the research is top notch as usual. Over all a great listen and worth an Audible credit.
I have read many of Michael Crichton's books. This was not one of his best, but it sure was up there with the others, really kept my interest. The second half of the book was very good. I am very happen with this book.
I enjoyed this story of the affable Captain Hunter and his rag-tag group of privateers. Although the action in this tale may have been piled on a little too thick, I still found this to be a very entertaining story. I won't get into the debate over whether or not Crichton actually wrote this and I won't call it Crichton at his best. But it sure made the commute go quickly!
The genius of Crichton is not as evident in this book as all his others (all of which I've read). Did he really write all of this? Parts are suspect. But a fun story.
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