Pirate Latitudes
  • Pirate Latitudes
  • Pirate Latitudes

Pirate Latitudes

3.6 1151
by Michael Crichton

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From one of the best-loved authors of all time comes an irresistible adventure of swashbuckling pirates in the New World, a classic story of treasure and betrayal.

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

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From one of the best-loved authors of all time comes an irresistible adventure of swashbuckling pirates in the New World, a classic story of treasure and betrayal.

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Ron Charles
This hilariously exciting book already reads like a film treatment, jumping from one cinematic, doom-filled episode to the next as it cuts its bloody way through the encyclopedia of piracy from "Ahoy" to "Yo-ho-ho"…As in any Crichton novel, all of this breakneck adventure is decorated with little bits of historical and technical instruction that float down like parrot feathers here and there…Crichton always had a perfect sense of how much (or how little) background most readers really wanted. He may stop a moment to explain the jury system required by Parliament in 1612 or the predictive nature of waves, but then he's quick to shout, "Hoist anchor! Lively with the lines!" and we're off again. If you're on the lookout for some light adventure…thar she blows!
—The Washington Post
Cameron Martin
Crichton's last novel, found in his files as a complete manuscript after his death in 2008, is unabashed fun.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
In Crichton’s posthumously published novel, Capt. Charles Hunter leads a lovable gang of pirates in a raid on a Spanish ship loaded with gold off the coast of Jamaica. Hunter’s determination must contend with a host of rapacious cannibals, hurricanes, sea monsters, simmering mutiny, and capture by sadistic Spaniards. Crichton draws on every pirate cliché in the book, refreshing and reanimating them with heady atmosphere, crackling dialogue, and an endearing hero—all of which are brought to life by John Bedford Lloyd, who excels at accents and colorful personalities. Lloyd’s deep and controlled voice projects energy and excitement, and steers clear of caricature. A Harper hardcover. (Dec.)
Bob Minzesheimer
“A lusty, rollicking 17th century adventure…. History as entertainment…. Crichton has done his homework.”
Richard Eisenberg
“Offers unexpected turns and plenty of yo ho ho’s.”
Michael Berry
“It’s not an ironic pirate novel. It’s not a pirate novel with a secret gimmick. It’s simply an entertaining tale filled with crafty privateers, despicable villains, treasure hoards, double crosses and a sea monster. Go figure.”
Benjamin Svetsky
“The plot sucks you in like the giant kraken monster that nearly sinks our hero’s galleon.”

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Larger Print
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)


What People are saying about this

Michael Berry
“It’s not an ironic pirate novel. It’s not a pirate novel with a secret gimmick. It’s simply an entertaining tale filled with crafty privateers, despicable villains, treasure hoards, double crosses and a sea monster. Go figure.”
Bob Minzesheimer
“Pirates Latitudes has the loot: Gore, sex, action…. A lusty, rollicking 17th century adventure…. History as entertainment…. Crichton has done his homework.”
Cameron Martin
“Unabashed fun.”
Benjamin Svetsky
“The plot sucks you in like the giant kraken monster that nearly sinks our hero’s galleon.”
Richard Eisenberg
“Offers unexpected turns and plenty of yo ho ho’s.”

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Pirate Latitudes 3.6 out of 5 based on 7 ratings. 1151 reviews.
DIckClark More than 1 year ago
I have always been a big fan of Michael Crichton, and was sad to learn of his passing. I have read all of his books and have always found them to be page turners. His writing skills are probably not given the credit they are due because of the commercial fiction genres he worked. This pirate book set in 1665 Caribbean is probably not what most of his fans are used to reading from this author (though Crichton was no stranger to historical fiction, I still consider "The Great Train Robbery" his best Novel). The reader I taken to the far removed Port Royal, a lone British colony holding out against the mighty Spanish empire. The town is home to some unlikely and unsavory characters, a place of sin and vice, and a good place to call home if you are looking to steal some Spanish gold, the Brits don't mind Pirates as long as they are hunting Spanish Gold! There is danger and death a plenty but there is also a chance for a man to get rich if has the audacity and ruthlessness to back up his play. Captain Charles Hunter is just such a man and there a Spanish Galleon hiding in a nearby harbor while undergoing repairs. But the harbor is under heavy guard led by the ruthless Cazell hand picked by the King of Spain himself. Hunter gathers a ragtag crew of cutthroats to go after the Spanish galleon, supposedly os Spanish gold. This is a raucous and fun read that can see going to the big screen soon! I just hope there are a few more gems like this that Mr. Crichton has hidden away.... For more great thrills in the modern day Caribbean, check out "Tourist In the Yucatan"
Donna414 More than 1 year ago
I think I have read all of Michael Crichton's books and enjoyed them greatly. This was a manuscript published after his death. In my opinion, it should have been left unpublished. I kept waiting for the plot to intrigue me but it never did. It had action but nothing like I expected from Crichton. I think this was a chance to make money off a manuscript he knew wasn't great and chose not to publish.
Logans_Run More than 1 year ago
Shame on Michael Crichton's heirs and shame on the publishers for foisting this on his fans for a quick buck. There's a reason he never showed this rough outline of a manuscript to anyone...wherever he is he must be horrified it's seen the light of day with his name on it. I'm a Michael Crichton fan (the man wrote some great and original books) and a lover of pirate stories, true and fictional. Neither of those facts could overcome the obvious flaws in this book. A bunch of overdone caricatures are conveniently plopped together with little to no character development and follow a ridiculously predictable (and I'm sorry to say, poorly written) plot-line. Well, I didn't see the fantastic glowing green giant squid coming...oh wait, I did because he basically tells you it's coming earlier in the book. How out of place is this in a story written like a true historical adventure? Plus he already used that one in 'Sphere' so it isn't even original to Michael Crichton. It's sad to think of all the great books out there to be read while this travesty takes up valuable shelf and warehouse space. Apparently the Crichton estate wasn't satisfied with the large profits from Jurassic Park and ER. Why not bilk loyal fans for a little more?
JoelCruz More than 1 year ago
Although this probably won't be as highly regarded as his previous works, this novel is still an AWESOME read. The only problem that I had with this book is that it seemed like it wasn't finished yet, but nonetheless it still kept me on the edge of my seat. Captain Charles Hunter is the new Jack Sparrow.
stonend11 More than 1 year ago
I was excited for the book's release when I heard of its topic and was utterly disappointed. Characterization was flat, narrative more telling than showing, and the plot was preposterous. Every cliche pirate event (hurricane, sea monster, etc.) trotted out for tale. This had to be a first draft. I'm sad that someone chose to release the after his death because I don't think he ever would have let it see the light in its released form.
hd91364 More than 1 year ago
This book was a disappointment. When I read that the manuscript had been discovered after Crichton's death, I wondered if he was so insufficiently satisfied with it that he hadn't offfered it for publication upon finishing it. It's a pirate tale, formulaic, cliched and very predictable. All the usual plot points are there - damsel taken captive, swashbuckling, scurvious crew, monstrous sea creature, hurricane, treasure. There was no parrot perched on anyone's shoulder, but that's about the only cliche he missed. This is a poor swan song to such a prolific and quality career.
Book_Zombie More than 1 year ago
I know Crichton fans were happy to have one last book to read after the author's passing, but this book should have stayed in the desk drawer. You can tell this was either a rough draft or one of Crichton's early works, before he refined his skills. The plot is simply one cheap pirate cliche after another, and the characters are hollow characitures of what pirates should be. I would not recommend this book.
missionamp More than 1 year ago
As others have noted, Pirate Latitudes is not Crichton's finest work. On the other hand, it's certainly not his worst. It shares similar qualities with most of his novels in that it combines arcane knowledge (history in this case; science in many others) with a fictional plot. Also, like every book of his, it's a page-turner. Having said that, there are some caveats. I had a sense that there is a certain lack of polish to it. It is somewhat shorter than a typical MC book, and there was an episodic quality to it that seems out of character. In addition, there were a couple of otherworldly plotlines that were dropped suddenly without further explanation. In other MC novels, these intriguing lead-ins would have been followed by elaborate, protracted plot development, eventually leading to satisfying (if not necessarily realistic) conclusions. Such was not the case here. I cannot help but speculate as to the condition of this novel in Crichton's mind. The story, as I understand it, is that it was discovered on his personal computer after his passing, and required "very little editing." This begs several questions in my mind. First and foremost: when was it written? There are many aspects of the novel which were quite similar to plot devices in the recent "Pirates" films. It was, in general, unlike Crichton to simply parrot well-known popular culture. Had Pirate Latitudes been released, say, 10 years ago, it would have been much more in keeping with his character. Was it, therefore, nearly complete when the recent pirates popularity sprung anew, and he shelved it (at least temporarily) as a result? The second question I have follows from the first: Necessary editing notwithstanding, how "mature" was the novel in the author's mind? I suspect that, had he lived and decided to publish Pirate Latitudes, he could have quite easily expanded it by 100 pages without stressing the basic plot framework. Unfortunately, we'll never know the answers to these questions. In the end, if you are a Crichton, or history/pirate, fan, Pirate Latitudes is well worth a read, but don't expect a masterpiece.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't pre-order this book. If you wait to order/buy this book when it is released, you may get additional discounts. I recently pre-ordered a book from Barnes & Noble at a "discounted" price only to find that I could have saved another 13% had I waited until it was released. I contacted B&N Customer Service about their pricing policy and apparently this is common. Most customers don't check a book's price after they've bought it, so it's good for the company.
808NookReader More than 1 year ago
Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought when I heard Michael Crichton was writing a pirate book, it would be pretty amazing or a least a good read. This book however has been a complete waste of time. It is really not even about pirates. It is about Privateers, which to certain governments they were pirates, but in this book they are just Privateers. The style of the book was rushed and spent too much on things that were not important verus the things that were. However, what I was most disappointed with was the face that everything on the flap of the book was done in the first 100 pages. Even the great villian that everyone was so afraid of was not even scary. I found myself reading just to see if it would get any better. It never did. The only good thing I can say is it had short chapters that moved. If you love fictional pirate books, please stay away from this one. This one read more like nonfiction book about privateers.
OldSeaDog More than 1 year ago
Very well narrated, really enjoyed this book and it helped shrink the miles on a daily commute (100 mile R/T.) You have to have an interest in the sea, and the time period that this story takes place in. I can't wait to see the movie I heard Speilberg is making the film?
pwaldrop2 More than 1 year ago
Not a deep or deeply original read, but a very fun one nevertheless...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not a book I would recommend to those who love Crichton. It is below his high standard of work.
rodman2735 More than 1 year ago
Fun book! Not the typical Crichton book but a blast to read just the same!
bravewarrior More than 1 year ago
CD/Unabridged/Historical Fiction: Wow, this was a great book. If you're expecting a medical or science fiction novel, you're not going to get it. If you want a book with pirates, heroes, strong narrative, character development, humor, tragedy, strong women, betrayal, and greed, this is the book for you. When I finished the book, I was on Wikipedia trying to see if Charles Hunter was based on a real person. He is not. This novel starts in Port Royal in the West Indies during the mid 1600s. (Think: Pirates of the Caribbean). The British Governor of the Port forbids and will hang any pirate, but all "privateers" are welcome if the Crown benefits. Charles Hunter enthusiastically seeks a Spanish treasure. With the blessing of the governor, he and his motley crew of privateers are off to steal the treasure. Hunter is our hero, so you know he'll make it to the end, but his journey is so interesting. The cast of supporting characters are wonderful. There are four female characters, two are ladies, one is a maid, and one a privateer who dresses as a man. All the women are either strong or get strong by the end. There are no doormats in this bunch. The narrator, John Bedford Lloyd, does a great job. He is not dull and has great inflection in his voice. He pauses in between scenes, which I appreciate. Here is the part I don't understand. This book was published posthumously. It was one of two books found on his computer after his death in 2008. Unlike Micro, this one was complete. The assistant who found it said it looked like it had been started in the seventies. Here is my theory. The book Timeline was about going back in time to France. I think the West Indies was one of his choices for the plot and he did a lot of research. He then chose France for Timeline. With the West Indies in his head, he thought out Pirate Latitudes. It is detailed like a Crichton book, but not like any Crichton book. I definitely recommend it.
Kellertwin More than 1 year ago
You need to check this book out.
pitbull42 More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of Michael Crichton since I was about 11 years old when I read the Andromeda Strain and I have read everyone since. I was holding off reading this book because as his last I feared it would not be as good as his other works. Sadly I was correct. The book starts off good but then it goes the way of every pirate movie ever made. It was not original, and even got ridiculous with an attack of a giant squid. I honestly think could have been a draft of a novel or a very early work. I do not think Crichton would have published this, and it is to bad the people handling his estate felt the need. Read the other great works by this author and skip this one.
CarolLH More than 1 year ago
This was a little different than I expected, but I still had a hard time putting it down. The characters and the story seemed realistic, more of the roughness of pirating rather than the fairy tale pirates that we have seen in movies and TV. Writing style was different than what I had expected from other Crichton books (i.e. Jurassic Park), but still an exciting read.
Bibliofilo More than 1 year ago
The topic is unusual for a Michael Crichton novel, this being a historical novel. However, his writing skills shine in it. It is entertaining like all of his works and makes a good read. This novel makes one think that perhaps Crichton could have in the long run have written novels in many genres, the same way another physician writer did about forty years ago, Frank Slaughter.
EmmaAusten More than 1 year ago
What can I say? It was strange. I've read every other book by Chrichton and this just wasn't up to par. I know it was a manuscript found after he died and then published. I have to assume that he wanted to edit it more before that happened. It was like a more adult Treasure Island. Not much to it really. It was a very quick read and the characters were only mildly developed. Actually as I was reading it I was picturing Captain Jack Sparrow since it seemed very movie cheesy.
ChampReader More than 1 year ago
I did like the book overall and it was a fun read. Not much to the plot and it was predictable. Characters were good, description of the location and the atmosphere of the location was descriptive enough, but it was all standard fare from other pirate movies and books. The use of a kraken? Really? I mean Disney may have issues with that. I did like it, but it is not a must read, more of a read if you get a chance. Considering it was a found manuscript and not finally edited by the author, this is not the best of Micheal's work. The cover was not interesting, but I am glad it was in large print.
McShwagghead More than 1 year ago
There is a reason Crichton left this manuscript tucked in his drawers. Its just no good. Maybe a screenplay for a bad movie, but not a good book. Has its fun moments, but not even really enjoyable, certainly not thrilling or original.
poma3 More than 1 year ago
I've thoroughly enjoyed every other Crichton book I've ever read. This one...not so much. The pacing is laborious, the characters thinly developed and the story unfulfilling. What could have been a true swashbuckling adventure is actually a bit, well, boring. The ending in particular seems weak as though Mr. Crichton intended to come back later and flesh it out further.
decidedly_indecisive More than 1 year ago
This is only the 3rd Crichton book that I've read (Timeline was great, Next was bad, and this was bad) and after finishing the book I am not satisfied. The plot was not well developed - which may have to do with the author's death prior to actually releasing the book. But while reading the book it wasn't too bad, just the overall book was disappointing.