''On Stranger Tides'' is a historical fantasy novel by Creator/TimPowers.

After the death of his father, John Chandagnac travels to America to track down a relative who stole his inheritance, but his quest is derailed when the ship he's travelling on is attacked by pirates, and he becomes embroiled in a search for the Fountain of Youth.

The ur-work of pirates-in-the-Caribbean-with-voodoo fiction, ''On Stranger Tides'' was an acknowledged inspiration for the ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland'' series, and the film rights were taken up by the makers of the ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' film series so they could plunder it for plot elements for the fourth film, ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanOnStrangerTides''.
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!!This novel provides examples of:

* AGodAmI: [[spoiler:Leo Friend]] is heading in this direction.
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: "Is it true what Panda Beecher once told me about you?"
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: Benjamin Hurwood explains the shortcomings of Newtonian physics on the microscopic scale and the basics of quantum mechanical indeterminacy. In ''1718''. Newton hadn't even died by that date, let alone seen his work become "classical" mechanics.
* BaldOfEvil: The entirely bald and utterly ruthless Edmund Morcilla, [[spoiler:actually the resurrected Blackbeard after choosing a new hairstyle that will reduce the chances of anyone recognising him]].
* BalefulPolymorph: Several of the main characters are nearly changed into swamp plants on their way back from the fountain of youth by the cursed jungle around them. They're saved at the last minute by [[spoiler: special mud from the fountain of youth, which retains some of its magical properties]]. This becomes a ChekhovsGun later in the story.
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: Blackbeard was a voodoo magician. [[spoiler:Ponce de Leon ''found'' the Fountain of Youth, but never made it home to tell anybody.]]
* BigBadWannabe: [[spoiler:Leo Friend]]
* CatchPhrase:
** Mr. Bird's [[spoiler: "I am not a dog"]].
** UsefulNotes/AnneBonny has [[spoiler:"For luck, man."]]
* BloodMagic: Many magics are powered or enhanced by the shedding of blood, which has something to do with the connection between magic and iron. Many magicians end up with persistent anemia from spending their blood iron on magic.
* BookEnds:
** On his first day on the pirates' island, near the beginning of the book, Jack sees a group of children playing with a puppet using MindOverMatter, one of his first clear signs that magic works in the New World. On his last day, near the end of the book, he sees the children playing with the puppet again, but this time using mundane strings to move it, a sign that even in the New World the magic is going away.
** The sword-fighting move Jack uses to defeat [[spoiler:the resurrected Blackbeard]] in the final confrontation at the end of the book is the same one he uses in his first-ever sword fight at the beginning.
* BrainFever: Mentioned a couple of times; Hurwood claims his daughter is at risk of brain fever as an excuse to control what she eats, and after she learns his true plans starts telling people she actually has brain fever as an excuse for keeping her confined and to lay the groudwork for discrediting anything she might manage to tell people.
* CharacterNameAlias: At one point, put on the spot for an explanation of who he is, Jack claims that his name is Thomas Hobbes and that his traveling companion is his manservant, Leviathan.
* ChekhovsGun: Quite a few. Pretty much anything that isn't "normal" has some direct relevance to the plot, and some elements aren't even directly explained.
* ChekhovsGunman: [[spoiler:Mr. Bird's ghoul helps Jack identify Hurwood's ship after he's spent months fruitlessly searching for it, and ''immediately'' afterward, he starts putting the pieces together about "the Governor", who turns out to be Ponce de Leon.]]
* ChekhovsSkill: John's puppetry comes in handy when [[spoiler: he's forced to turn Hurwood's corpse into a giant marionette that can signal his onshore accomplice]].
* ColdIron: There's a distinction between hot iron and cold iron. The former, naturally occurring in contexts such as [[BloodMagic blood]] and [[ThunderboltIron falling stars]], helps magic along, but the latter -- basically any worked iron, such as in a knife or a nail -- is magically dead, and impedes magic.
* CruelToBeKind: A famous historical incident in which Blackbeard shot and wounded his second-in-command without provocation is explained as Blackbeard impulsively acting to get him safely out of the way before an upcoming confrontation that Blackbeard knows is likely to result in many deaths.
* EldritchLocation: Erebus, where [[spoiler: the Fountain of Youth is]] is heavily implied to be one of these, which is fitting considering it's often considered part of the Greek afterlife.
* EnemyMine: After Elizabeth is abducted by [[spoiler:the newly-empowered Leo Friend]], Shandy and Hurwood collaborate to rescue her, since each for his own reasons wants her alive and unharmed. [[spoiler:Hurwood turns on Shandy and his crew the moment Friend is dealt with.]]
* EnfantTerrible: Leo Friend was one as a child; his hobbies included torturing small animals and randomly distributing poisoned sweets.
* {{Epigraph}}: Played with. The book's epigraph consists of two poetry fragments, one of which is apparently the source of the novel's title but was actually written specially for the epigraph; the poet it's attributed to, William Ashbless, is a CreatorInJoke who appears or is mentioned in most of Powers's novels. (The other fragment is an authentic bit of ''Literature/TheRimeOfTheAncientMariner''.)
* EvilCripple: Hurwood has only one arm.
* FakingTheDead: [[spoiler:Sebastian Chandagnac]] fakes his death, leaving a headless corpse, to avoid exposure and ruin from his criminal activities.
* FatBastard: Leo Friend is described as extremely, grotesquely fat. There's a bit of cause-and-effect here, though; his mother spoiled him, including sweets when he should have been on a diet, leading to his superiority complex and weight gain.
* FromASingleCell: [[spoiler:Anyone who has drunk from and shed blood at the Fountain of Youth]] can return from death if even a single drop of their blood falls into the sea when they die.
* FromDressToDressing: After the final showdown, Jack tears strips off his shirt to bandage the wounds of the survivors.
* GenderRestrictedAbility: Certain magical powers are restricted by gender; maintaining access to powers he can't control directly is one of the motivations for Blackbeard's many marriages.
* GrandTheftMe: [[spoiler: Hurwood plans to resurrect his dead wife by utilizing newfound powers retrieved from the fountain of youth to transform Beth, his daughter, into a vessel and blank body for his wife to move in to.]]
* GreyAndGreyMorality: Just about every character is sympathetic in some way. [[spoiler:Except for Leo Friend, who turns out to be a near-sociopath with severe mommy issues. Freudian ones.]]
** Sebastian Chandagnac is pretty much a complete scumbag as well. His main concern about [[spoiler:evicting Beth Hurwood's soul]] is that the process might mess up his dinner party.
** Jack Shandy starts the story off as an average, if reluctant, good guy, [[spoiler: but his willingness to straight-up shoot and explode British sailors, some of whom were probably forcefully pressed into service, in order to escape custody is pretty shocking and cold.]]
* HeroesWantRedHeads: Elizabeth has auburn hair.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: A whole lot of pirates, including UsefulNotes/{{Blackbeard}} and several of his crew. A young UsefulNotes/AnneBonny makes a few appearances, too.
* HistoricalFantasy
* HollywoodVoodoo: Actually, averted for the most part. Tim Powers is one of those authors who ''embodies'' ShownTheirWork, and the major difference between his rituals and actual Caribbean rituals is that his actually ''work''.
* HumanSacrifice: In the prologue, a sorceror sacrifices two humans so their blood can power a spell to communicate with the afterlife, derived from the one Circe teaches Odysseus in ''Literature/TheOdyssey''. It's noted that Odysseus could get away with two sheep, but due to [[TheMagicGoesAway the weakening of magic over time]] it won't work in the present with anything less than humans.
* IKnowMortalKombat: The protagonist, Shandy, used to work in a puppet theatre whose owner insisted on authentic choreography for fight scenes; this saves his life when he unexpectedly finds himself in a real sword-fight. (However, it's played realistically, pointed out that he got lucky, and he's smart enough not to get into any more sword-fights until he's had real fight training.
* InnerMonologueConversation: The vodun magician called Woefully Fat is deaf, and never responds to anything spoken to him -- but several times he gives an answer to what the protagonist had just thought.
* InsanityImmunity: [[spoiler:Jack Shandy suffers a concussion from a hard fall just before confronting an evil sorcerer, who attempts to trap him in illusions. The illusions keep breaking down as a result of Jack's disorientation, causing the villain to exclaim: "What's wrong with your mind? It's like a stripped screw!"]]
* InsuranceFraud: A variant was committed by the captain of the ''Vociferous Carmichael''. He didn't cheat his insurance company directly; rather, he charged the owners of his ship's cargo a fat fee to be used to insure its safe delivery, but pocketed their money instead of buying the promised insurance.
* LoveMakesYouEvil: Hurwood is driven to horrifying extremes by his grief over his wife's death.
* TheMagicGoesAway: Noted, and explained in detail. [[spoiler:Magic becomes more difficult if the caster has contact with too much [[ColdIron ferrous metal]], and magic-use has been dying out as iron technology spreads.]] Magic has become extremely difficult and dangerous in Europe for this reason; it's easier in the New World, but by the end of the novel it's being weakened even there.
* MindOverMatter: The most common interpretation of voodoo magic used in the novel. Utilized in a variety of forms ranging from control over others (dead or alive) to summoning winds for the sails to telekinesis over inanimate objects--all of which involve MindOverMatter.
* NotUsingTheZedWord: We do have undead, but they're not the shambling, rotting, moaning sort. They're closer to dead people bound as servants, and never actively referred to as "zombies", since that word has a very specific connotation in voodoo.
* OedipusComplex: Leo Friend. [[spoiler: While attempting to rape Beth Hurwood (albeit falingly so) Leo Friend, with newfound powers and an apparent lack of mastery over them, accidentally and briefly turns Beth into his mother which while saying "mommy, oh mommy" repeatedly and in an increasingly pathetic tone. This, in turn, causes Beth to vomit.]]
* OfCorpseHesAlive: Played for drama; after [[spoiler:Hurwood]] dies inconveniently, Shandy has to apply his puppetry skills to the coprse to stall his accomplice.
* PeoplePuppets: Much of the voodoo magic present in the novel involves controlling others to say or do as you command. Contributes to themes involving Jack Shandy's history as a puppeteer.
* PowerFloats: Both of the competitors in the WizardDuel.
* PowerPerversionPotential: The man who taught Leo Friend how to do magic used it mainly for stealing food and looking up women's dresses without getting caught. Leo himself uses it, though more elaborately, for much the same sort of thing.
* PublicDomainArtifact: The Fountain of Youth.
* SeeksAnothersResurrection: [[spoiler:Hurwood's goal is to resurrect his dead wife.]]
* SuicideByCop: Attempted by [[spoiler:Phil Davies]] when he's captured by the navy; he deliberately provokes the captain into a murderous rage because he'd rather be killed on the spot than be tried and hanged.
* ThisWasHisTrueForm: After [[spoiler:Blackbeard]] dies for real, his corpse shows the marks of every lethal injury magic had saved him from over the course of his career. There are a lot of them.
* ThrowAwayGuns: Hurwood assists the pirate attack by firing one pistol after another, pulling the guns from bandoliers and dropping them after use. Justified because they are one-shot flintlock pistols. People who expected to have to fight with them would usually pack a half-dozen or so for use in RealLife. Hurwood also has only one arm and would be slowed down immensely if he paused and re-holstered each weapon.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Hurwood, who does terrible, terrible things, but for remarkably justifiable reasons. Doesn't stop him from being a monster, though.
** Well, his reasons are 'justifiable' if you think that [[spoiler: bringing your dead wife's spirit back inside the body of your own daughter for some incestuous loving]] is justifiable.
* WizardDuel: The showdown between Benjamin Hurwood and Leo Friend.
* YouMustBeCold: Jack lends Elizabeth his jacket a couple of times.
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