"An irresistible adventure of swashbuckling pirates...a classic story of treasure and betrayal...a rollicking adventure tale pulsing with relentless action, cracking atmosphere and heart-pounding suspense" (synopsis from Barnes and Noble)
Well, I wouldn't go that far. True, it is a story of pirates, treasure and betrayal; and, yes, it is action-packed but we certainly wouldn't call it "Michael Crichton at his best", as the publisher claims. We are both long-time fans of anything Crichton wrote and we got our son hooked on them as well, but this story just didn't seem to have that un-nameable factor that has always drawn us into a Crichton story.
The tremendous amount of research Mr. Crichton did for any book he wrote was always apparent - and that holds true in this book, as well. The details of life on land and sea in 1665 add authenticity. The language can be difficult to follow at times, but I would be complaining even more if the pirates were using modern slang, so I guess that's to be expected.
This won't come as much of a surprise to anyone who's read any of our past reviews or to anyone who's read many of Crichton's books (especially Timeline) but - it's too bloody! I realize it was a violent world, but seriously....does it matter which direction the body parts flew or how the blood sprayed?
The cover flap reveals that this book was "discovered as a complete manuscript" after Mr. Crichton's death, which raises the question - if it was a story he felt was worthy of publication, wouldn't his agent and/or publisher have known about it? Or was this an attempt to glean a few more dollars from the Crichton legacy?
In spite of all this, it's not a "bad" book - sub-par Crichton is still better than many authors - but it is a forgettable book. We didn't mind reading it, but we also didn't mind laying it down. We give it 3 stars out of 5.