In many ways my desire to be a writers occurred when a friend of mine in high school handed me Jurassic Park and told me that this was a book that I just had to read. I didn’t read it right away, it took me about a month to get started, but once I started I wasn’t able to put it done until the last page had been turned and the last sentence read. After that I consumed Crichton book after Crichton book, everything from Congo to Sphere, and even his older material like The Andromeda Strain and The Terminal Man. Therefore you can imagine how much of a shock it was to learn that Michael Crichton had died suddenly in late 2008; it was like a real-life super hero of mine had died.
My sorrow, however, was some what eased when I learned a few month later that one final book by Michael Crichton would be published. It was a book that nobody, save for Michael himself, even knew existed. It was only after the contents of his computer were being searched after his death that Pirate Latitudes was discovered. All you loyal Michael Crichton fans will be happy to know that Pirate Latitudes has been adapted by Steven Spielberg for the big screen, although detailes about when the movie will be released has yet to be determined.
Pirate Latitudes is the story of a pirate named Hunter, who learns about a Spanish galleon that it moored in the bay of Manatceros – a Spanish stronghold which serves as a safe haven for traveling Spanish vessels. Nobody has ever successfully raided the island, and it is believed that nobody ever will. But with the lure of treasure – and massive amounts of it, at that – Hunter cannot just sit idley by and watch his chance for fame and fortune pass him by – he must attampt to take the ship and the island, or die trying.
Despite the reputation of Manatceros, Hunter is able to form a rag-tag team of privateers that will accompany him on his quest. Hunters plan is daring – scale a large cliff wall on the other side of the island and attack the fort from behind. With the element of surprise as their advantage, Hunter and his men will take control of the Spanish galleon holding the treasure and make a run for it, all the way back to their home port of Port Royal.
All seems to work at first; they safely capture the ship and sail it out into the open ocean and out of site of Manatceros or any pursuing Spanish warship. But this victory is short lived as a warship does eventually show up to reclaim the gold on the galleon. However, Hunter has one more trick up his sleeve – he will make for Monkey Island and hide in a shallow harbor where the war ship cannot follow.
The war ship is only the beginning of Hunters troubles for as the old saying goes: their is no horror amongst thieves.
Pirate Latitudes was rich with character details and plot and a good farewell for an author that can easily be placed in the category of one of the best of the twentieth century.
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