Pirate LatitudesPirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Historical fiction

In the 17th century Jamaica was a lonely English outpost in the Caribbean surrounded by Spanish territory. To help defend the territory the governor invited privateers to use Port Royal as a base. It was conveniently located to the safest passage for ship traveling from Spanish territories back to Spain. English privateers were encouraged to raid any Spanish ship that they could find.


The Pirate Latitudes takes place in 1665. A Spanish treasure ship was rumored to have been damaged in a storm. When an unknown ship is spotted in the harbor of a fortified Spanish island speculation runs rampant that this is the missing ship awaiting repairs and another escort ship to Spain. Captain Charles Hunter is sent by the governor to get the ship. An attack from the harbor is impossible because of the fort. They decide to land on the back of the island and make a hazardous journey across the mountains to attack the fort from behind. But, if they get the ship will they be able to get back to Jamaica?

In the meantime the Governor has a new Lieutenant Governor straight from England who is horrified that the representatives of the Crown work directly with criminals. He’s intent on ridding Port Royal of these bad influences.

This book was found on Michael Crichton’s computer after his death. It is well researched but never felt as exciting to me as his novels that dealt more with medical issues. Maybe that’s more telling about my interests than a critique of the writing. The story never really felt like a page turner to me but it was an interesting look at a very distinctive place and time.