Although Michael Crichton died last year, a finished draft of his last novel was found on his computer and just released last month. Crichton has written historical fiction in the past, but he is probably best known for his science thrillers. But his final novel, Pirate Latitudes, is a good, old-fashioned pirate adventure novel. And what an adventure! The story begins in 1665 on the island of Jamaica, which is one of the few islands under British control, compared to the many controlled by the Spanish. The dashing scoundrel Captain Charles Hunter is a well-known, successful "privateer" in Jamaica. When word reaches him that a Spanish treasure galleon is sitting in the bay of a nearby island, Hunter sets out with a band of rogues to capture this ship and claim its treasure. What follows is an epic adventure: an attack at sea, a daring escape, storming a Spanish fortress, battles with a Spanish war ship, the sea, and a giant sea monster.
Although this is a fast-paced adventure story, Crichton also includes a lot of detail. He explains how the ships were constructed and sailed, how the cannons and weaponry worked, and details of the sea and weather. Crichton is very talented at interspersing these details in the story, so that you learn a great deal, but the story doesn't get bogged down in the facts. The cast of characters is an interesting bunch, and I would have liked to know more about them. Unfortunately this book will not appeal to all readers, so it's not a book that I can recommend to everyone. I hate to categorize books as men's or women's fiction, but this does seem to be a book that will probably have more appeal to men. It's a sea adventure, heavy on the action and details, light on the character development and relationships. There is also a lot of violence and some gory details. I happened to like it because I have a thing for pirates, and I do like a lot of historical detail, but it's not for everyone.
Steven Spielberg has already signed on to produce the movie. I wonder who will play Captain Hunter? Hunter reminds me of Han Solo, but Harrison Ford might be getting a little too old for the role. It should definitely make for an exciting, action-packed movie.