Pirate Latitudes is an action adventure Period Piece, and the final novel finished by Michael Crichton. It was found on his hard drive by his assistant after his death, and published posthumously, in 2009. The story takes place in The Spanish Main in 1665, centering on Privateer Charles Hunter, whom is tasked by the governor of Jamaica, James Almont, to steal a massive treasure fleet from an imprenetable Spanish fortress, called Matanceros, and the bulk of the stories centers on the adventures experienced by Hunter and his crew. A movie by Steven Spielberg has been revealed to be in prodoction, and Spielbergs long time assistant David Koepp is working on it, but no further detalils has been revealed.The plot of the novel, more detailed, goes as follows: In 1665, a ship arrives in Port Royal, carrying words of a large treasure of gold, mined by the Spanish in South America, and taken to the impenetrable fortress of Matanceros, awaiting escort across the Atlantic. Interested in acquiring the gold, James Almont, the governor of Jamaica, secretly orders Privateer Charles Hunter to retrieve the gold, promising him a share, against the request of Robert Hacklett, Almonts new Obstructive Bureaucrat assistant. However, the gold is guarded by Cazalla, the sociopathic Spanish commander of Matanceros, and Hunter, even after assembling his crew, is facing hardships. A short mention of the problems he experiences in route, can be summed up to: Getting captured by Cazalla, Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity at Matanceros, experiencing some serious Jungle Japes on the same island, including snakes and mosquitoes, fighting Cazallas men at Matanceros, fleeing Matanceros, pursued by Cazallas Dragon Ascendant, Bosquets, battling his warship, dealing with the hardships of The Load, Brainless Beauty Lady Sarah Almont, the governors niece, a hurricane, a Cannibal Tribe, a Giant Squid, and finally the Tyrant Takes the Helm, in the familiar form of Robert Hacklett in Port Royal, and finally, a significant betrayal by a crew member. It is a true adventure novel, in other words.
Pirate Latitudes feature the following tropes:
A Load of Bull: The Moor is killed by a bull during the attack on Panama in the epilogue, many years after.
Animals Not to Scale: The kraken that attacks El Trinidad, must be considered a giant squid, (Or a colossal squid alternatively, but that would put it under Misplaced Wildlife), is way larger than Real Life giant squid. Actually, the first to appear is not that far off, in past observations of giant squid, hte mantle was sometimes put as twenty feet, although the common consensus today is that it will rearly grow larger than six feet, but the second is way beyond any considerations, with the eye alone being five feet across, and the tentacles thick as tree trunks. This is actually the only scene in the book that would not happen in Real Life. On the opposite, the crocodiles described, seem somewhat smaller than in Real Life, Hunter mentions that the crocodiles in Jamaica rarely grow beyond 4 feet, and that the one five feet long must come from the mainland. Actually, the species of crocodile in Jamaica, the American crocodile, gan grow to a whopping twenty feet on the mainland, and does rarely some 13 feet in the Caribbean, but the fact remains, that Hunters figures would be more correct if put in meters, rather than feet. Possibly a simple mistake from Crichton, failing to recognize between meters and feet, athough that would seemunusual for a man so keen on showing his work.
Bad Boss: While, despite everything else, he is not one of the worst bosses, when Cazalla realizes his captives has escaped, he immediately lets out his anger on a Spanish soldier nearby, knocking him down.
Bears Are Bad News: Subverted to hell and back by a bear, appearing for a short sequence in Port Royal. It is just a bear baiting outside the inn, and the helpless bear is tormented by children and whores, doomed to die a painful death. This happened in Real Life.
Big Bad: Cazalla is probably the villain to get closest to this status, but since he dies half-way through the book, he cannot truly be called this. In the ending, both Robert Hacklett and Sanson can qualify.
Cold-Blooded Torture: When Cazalla tries to force the crewmen to talk, he subjects one to getting his face attacked by rats.
Cruel and Unusual Death: Many of them, including minor characters. The above-mentioned privateer, whom gets his head eaten by rats at the hand of Cazalla, probably takes the cake, but there are other candidates as well. Cazallas thrat is stabbed, after Hunter throws his sword, a Red Shirt crewman is torn up and eaten by the Caribs, several more crewmen are strangled and pulled overboard by the Kraken, Hacklett bleeds out after a bullet to the groin, and in the epilogue, the Moor is run down by a bull, and The Jew is killed in the 1691 earthquake that flattens Port Royal.
The Dog Bites Back: Hacklett is shot in the groin by his wife after things just get enough for her.
The Dragon: Busquets is this to Cazalla, and Commandor Scott is this to Robert Hacklett in the ending.
Dragon Ascendant: Busquets takes command over the spanish warship after Cazallas death.
For the Evulz: Cazalla enjoys violence, and the pain and agony of others.
Giant Squid: Appears twice, at first it does not do much, and is mostly considered an omen, the second time, it is aggresive, MUCH larger than real life giant squid, and attacks in the ship, killing several crewmembers.
Misplaced Wildlife: For a large part, masterfully averted, as could be trusted from Crichton, but a very minor slip-up appears. Coral snakes are not known from eastern Caribbean islands, and Matanceros is described as the easternmost in the islands, nor are venomous snakes in general, apart from the fer de lance vipers from Martinique. However, since Matanceros is a fictional island, this could possibly be irrelevant. Also, monkeys are scarcely seen in the Caribbean, and if the Giant Squid fitting the size proportions of a Colossal Squid, that woudl count too, as they only live around Antarctica.
My Sibling Will Live Through Me: The reason Lazue started to live as a boy, was that her older brother died, and since she was illegitimate, her mother had to disguise her as the brother to avoid revealing that she had been cheating her husband.
Nightmare Fetishist: Cazalla has a great fascination with violence, suffering, and death. To iterate, when he slits the throat of a crew member, he watches it with a completely absorbed fascination, and he has a painting of the cruxifiction of Christ, which he keeps because he is fascinated with watching the wound and the blood flowing from the man.
The Shelf of Book Langishment: Nobody knows exactly when Crichton finished the book, or why he never submitted it to his publishers, but it appears he had been working on it since the mid-1970s.
Shout-Out: The rat torture scene is very similar to the scene where Wintson finally breaks in 1984.
Shown Their Work: Wll, with Michael Chrichton involved, what would you expect? Everything, from the wildlife, the historical events in the epilogue, to the navigation techniques, are completely accurate, and the fictional events of the book fits to a tee.
Show Some Leg: Lazue takes this to a new degree, when faced with Spanish guards at Matanceros, she takes off her shirt, and subsequently slits all their throats. Also, Hunter uses Anne Sharpe to distract Sanson in the climax, allowing him to kill Sanson.
Slashed Throat: Cazalla killing a crewmember. Of corse, when Hunter finally kills Cazalla, a simple slash won't do it. Instead he throws his sword, stabbing Cazalla through the neck.
Swarm of Rats: The ship bring swith them several live rats, which the Jew intends to use the intestines to make fuses with, but when Cazalla finds them, he figures out how to use them as a torture method.
Threatening Shark: Sharks circle Sanson's boat in the climax, and devour his body after Hunter kills him.