skip to content rich footer

StevenClark.com.au

subscibe to the StevenClark.com.au rss feed

Pirate Latitudes (Book Review)

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

It’s been years since I read a pirate novel or anything resembling an olden days seafaring yarn. Not too long ago I sat down and read Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton (mainly because his books always have a good pay-off at the end for the reader) and found a bit of a gem for the historic reader of my younger years. This novel is the story of Captain Edward Hunter, a privateer for the English Crown in the very early years of Port Royal. The thing that really made the book, though… Crichton’s pay-off at the very end. If you don’t want spoilers then don’t read any further. OK, you’ve been warned. This novel came from the book authored and published by Charles Hunter in 1666 Life Among the Privateers of the Carribean Sea. The last pages of Michael Crichton’s novel reveals the fates of major players and privateers in Port Royal and their story that led to a missing treasure still unfound to this day.

The simple fact at the time of the reading was that I thought this was just a swashbuckling adventure novel with elements that were too tall to be true tales. And, of course, given that it’s taken from Hunter’s own account of events there is no mistaking that he painted his life as a privateer (or pirate) with a more noble and honourable brush. And how do you criticise the version of a man who was the only survivor of a fight? In such times when a ship came to port they could easily say the battle was not to their advantage, they never picked the fight, and that all members of the other ship were lost to the sea. Drowned, or murdered? Who would know?

A great clue is in his evidence at trial for piracy where he claimed to have sunk a certain Spanish warship with two volleys from an undercrewed and limping Spanish galleon (the first shot missed, of course); not long afterwards he almost single handedly killed… wait for it… a kraken. But wouldn’t you have painted yourself as such a legend back in the day, if it were possible? If you were a pirate… cough… privateer. And, given the authoring of the book in 1666, Edward Hunter was an intelligent and literate man.

No, this wasn’t just a vainglorious adventure story because the basis of all this happened in real life. And this story is one suriviving man’s version of that incredibly interesting time in maritime history. It’s a story about that one big treasure that was lost to the sea and time. Even though reading the story my bullshit detector was pinging like a troubadour. This only made it all the better.

Comments are closed.

Social Networking

Keep an eye out for me on Twitter

About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

skip to top of page