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This review is for the paperback book Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton. The book was published in paperback in 2009, and was sadly published posthumously as Michael Crichton died in 2008.
The basic plot of the book is set in the 1660s and involves Captain Charles Hunter who is put in charge of a large expedition to Matanceros, a fictional island in Jamaica. He reaches there successfully, but then becomes engaged in a project to return another ship back to Spain, in the hope of a reward. Hunter also finds himself set against Captain Cazalla, who protects Matanceros, and without giving too much of the plot away, it's a conflict where there can only be one winner.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and it really is a loss to literature that Michael Crichton sadly passed away. As with the other books I've read by Crichton, this book showed his superb ability to develop characters and locations in the book, which made them feel much more realistic. There are superb descriptions about Jamaica, and all of this combined made for a very atmospheric book, which it is very easy to engaged with.
I noted that some reviews regarding this book queried whether this was a book actually written by Michael Crichton, or whether it was just a rough draft that another author had completed. I'm to be honest unable to tell, but I found the book convincing and it did feel in the Crichton style, although the very basis of the book is very different to previous books that he has written, such as Jurassic Park and the Great Train Robbery.
I read this book fairly much straight through in a couple of days, it was a good page turner, which was easy to dip into and addictive to read. In many parts the characters reminded me of characters from a Clive Cussler adventure thriller, although I did feel that there were maybe too many characters developed in the book, and sometimes these characters didn't get the level of storyline that they might have deserved.
The paperback book retails at 7.99 pounds, but at the time of writing can be purchased for 3.99 pounds on Amazon, post-free. If you prefer a second hand copy, at the moment you can pick one of these up from sites such as eBay or Amazon for around three pounds including postage. The ISBN is 9780061929373.
In summary, I found this a good read, an adventure and pirate story which looks likely to be turned into a film. There's lot of adventures, lots of politics, lots of history and a lot of atmosphere, so if you're a fan of pirate books, or thrillers, then this book is definitely worth a look, especially given its cheap post-free price on Amazon.