whilst on holiday i treated myself to the, for want of a better term, latest Michael Crichton novel, Pirate Latitudes. the term "latest" is used with some caution; Mr Crichton sadly passed away (see previous posts) and the manuscript for this novel was "found" by his assistant whilst they were tidying up his estate.
first off, before what might be perceived as criticism comes in, let me say that this is a damned fine, entertaining read. i struggled to put it down, quite frankly, and it has been a long while since i had a novel like that. anyone looking for a fun, furious, fast paced entertaining novel full of adventure and humour should get this book as soon as possible.
what's it about? well, the name of the book should kind of tell you what you need to know. it follows the adventures of some privateers (effectively "legal pirates") who embark on a near-impossible raid on a Spanish fortress in the Caribbean, followed by a thrilling and daring journey back. i am loathe to give any more details, i really don't like the idea of spoiling the fun. the most likely description i would imagine as being out there is of it being "like Pirates Of The Caribbean for adults", and this is not far off being the case - it certainly is an adults only affair.
there is a problem with the book, though. it is patently and clearly an incomplete Michael Crichton novel, despite the fact that it flows fluidly and is a "complete story", if you get what i mean. those in the know about Mr Crichton say that this is a book he has been tinkering with since the early 80s. there are clearly sections of the book where he intended to come back and add some substance and flesh; an example would be one chapter in particular where a substantial amount of events and action are compressed into a four page chapter. you get the feeling that he was going to expand on the events in it "later".
the fact that it clearly isn't a finished novel is a little sad, but doesn't stop the sheer entertainment of what goes on in the book. as i said, it reads as a complete story, if not a full Michael Crichton novel. a semi-done, structured Michael Crichton novel is all that we can get, unfortunately, and thus i encourage you to grab it and enjoy!
actually, an initial reaction i had to the book was that it was perhaps intended more as a "film treatment"(a la his novel The Lost World) than it was a full blown novel. this perhaps isn't the case, but i am led to believe that Steven Spielberg is currently getting ready to make the film version of Pirate Latitudes. considering the outstanding job he did of filming Crichton's Jurassic Park, this is no bad thing whatsoever.
on a more literal front, it seems that another posthumous novel will be published, possibly in 2012. i have no more information than that, sadly. if it's true, great, if not, well, i have to say that Pirate Latitudes would serve as a fitting, excellent final novel from this great entertaining writer than the disappointing Next would have been.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!