BY MICHAEL CRICHTON
Michael Crichton was a writer and filmmaker, best known as the author of Jurassic Park and the creator of ER. His most recent novel, Pirate Latitudes, published posthumously in November 2009, is a suspenseful adventure story set in the 17th century.
Crichton graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College, received his MD from Harvard Medical School, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, researching public policy with Jacob Bronowski. He taught courses in anthropology at Cambridge University and writing at MIT. Crichton's 2004 bestseller, State of Fear, acknowledged the world was growing warmer, but challenged extreme anthropogenic warming scenarios. He predicted future warming at 0.8 degrees C. (His conclusions have been widely misstated.)
Crichton's interest in computer modeling went back forty years. His multiple-discriminant analysis of Egyptian crania, carried out on an IBM 7090 computer at Harvard, was published in the Papers of the Peabody Museum in 1966. His technical publications included a study of host factors in pituitary chromophobe adenoma, in Metabolism, and an essay on medical obfuscation in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Crichton's first bestseller, The Andromeda Strain, was published while he was still a medical student. He later worked full-time on film and writing. One of the most popular writers in the world, his books have been translated into thirty-six languages, and thirteen have been made into films.
He had a lifelong interest in computers. His feature film Westworld was the first to employ computer-generated special effects back in 1973. Crichton's pioneering use of computer programs for film production earned him a Technical Achievement Academy Award in 1995.
Crichton won an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award, and a Writer's Guild of America Award for ER. In 2002, a newly discovered ankylosaur was named for him: Crichtonsaurus bohlini. He is survived by his wife Sherri, his daughter Taylor, and his son, John Michael.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Jamaica in 1665 is a rough outpost of the English crown, a minor colony holding out against the vast supremacy of the Spanish empire. Port Royal, Jamaica′s capital, a cut-throat town of taverns, grog shops, and bawdy houses, is devoid of London′s luxuries; life here can end swiftly with dysentery or a dagger in your back. But for Captain Edward Hunter it is a life that can also lead to riches, if he abides by the island′s code. In the name of His Majesty King Charles II of England, gold in Spanish hands is gold for the taking. And law in the New World is made by those who take it into their hands.
Word in port is that the Spanish treasure galleon El Trinidad, fresh from New Spain, is stalled in nearby Matanceros harbor awaiting repairs. Heavily fortified, the impregnable Spanish outpost is guarded by the blood-swiller Cazalla, a favorite commander of King Philip IV himself. With the governor′s backing, Hunter assembles a roughneck crew to infiltrate the enemy island and commandeer the galleon, along with its fortune in Spanish gold. The raid is as perilous as the bloody legends of Matanceros suggest, and Hunter will lose more than one man before he finds himself on the island′s shores, where dense jungle and the firepower of Spanish infantry are all that stand between him and the treasure.With the help of his cunning crew, Hunter hijacks El Trinidad and escapes the deadly clutches of Cazalla, leaving plenty of carnage in his wake. But his troubles have just begun. . .
After Michael Crichton's death in 2008, PIRATE LATITUDES was discovered on one of his computers. Set in mid-17th century, it is a pirate adventure written as one should be full of swashbuckling pirates at time when they were at their peek of activity. Ships came to the Caribbean from France, Spain, and England often filled with treasures from South America and Mexico and became stuck on coral reefs or in the shallows and were sitting ducks for pirates to take advantage of.
In Port Royal, Jamaica, a British post was ruled by Governor Almont. When Captain Charles Hunter, from Great Britain, arrives he hears about the El Trinidad, a huge Spanish galleon. It has evidently dropped anchor in Matanceros, near the Virgin Islands which is an area known to be a Spanish stronghold. When its sister ship was sunk in a storm, the El Trinidad supposedly is full of a fortune in gold and jewels. And so the Governor of Jamaica makes a tempting offer to Captain Hunter to use his skills as a successful privateer to take over this ship. Privateering back then was a fine profession although very dangerous. It differed from piracy in that what ever was found and claimed would turn over a large percentage of the wealth to the crown while pirates would keep it all for themselves.
Captain Hunter begins searching the island bars and other seedy establishments to put together a good, well experienced crew. Most of them are thieves and murderers themselves, but the ones that Captain Hunter feels can be trusted when paid and treated well, are chosen. His choices include men with skills of all kinds including making explosives! Now they must act quickly as they are greatly outnumbered and so Hunter makes a plan to capture the ship while at anchor and most of the crew are onshore.
As almost everything that was planned that could go wrong does, and Hunter and his crew have to battle to overcome odds, the reader is now immersed in the expertise of Michael Crichton's writing as he pulls you in and then won't let you put the book down as you try and read "just one more page" to no avail! Even at this point IF they succeed, they still would have to get back to Port Royal by traveling in dangerous enemy filled seas.
As you read what as far as we know is the latest and last words from this amazingly talented author, you recall his attention to even the tiniest detail that made you a fan from the first Crichton words you ever read. His research and own personal knowledge of sailing adds to the excitement and reality of the story. Even as we find out more about the brave Captain Hunter and his skilled but roust-about crew, you can't help but want them to survive. Just as privateering was looked upon as respectable in those days, one becomes attached to this gang of seafaring thieves and pulls for their victory and survival.
Full of action and intense excitement, PIRATE LATITUDES gives us a sad farewell the Mr. Crichton as, personally, like many of you, if you've read all he wrote, you realize that this will be the last of his fine novels and the loss of this talented, intelligent, amazing man is felt once more. Please note that the end of this post contains a more fitting tribute to Michael Crichton by those who knew and respected and loved him. Of course I recommend this book most highly and am honored to be able to put my own thoughts on paper about such a talent. Rest in peace, Michael Crichton.
THANKS TO KYLE AND GOOD PEOPLE
AT HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHING,
I HAVE 3 COPIES OF THIS AMAZING
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY. HERE IS WHAT
YOU NEED TO DO TO WIN A COPY!
--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!
6 PM, EST, DECEMBER 31
unexpectedly in Los Angeles Tuesday,November
4, 2008 after a courageous and private battle
While the world knew him as a great story teller that
challenged our preconceived notions about the world
around us -- and entertained us all while doing so --
his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, son John Michael,
family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a
evoted husband, loving father and generous friend
who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders
of our world through new eyes. He did this with a wry
sense of humor that those who were privileged to
know him personally will never forget.
Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an
inspiration to students of all ages, challenged
scientists in many fields, and illuminated the
mysteries of the world in a way we could all
He will be profoundly missed by those whose lives he
touched, but he leaves behind the greatest gifts of a
thirst for knowledge, the desire to understand, and the
wisdom to use our minds to better our world.
REMEMBERING MICHAEL CRICHTON
"Michael's talent out-scaled even his own dinosaurs of
Jurassic Park. He was the greatest at blending science
with big theatrical concepts, which is what gave
credibility to dinosaurs again walking the Earth.Michael
was a gentle soul who reserved his flamboyant side
for his novels. There is no one in the wings that will
ever take his place."
--- Director and Film Producer Steven Spielberg
"Michael Crichton was an extraordinary man. Brilliant,
funny, erudite, gracious, exceptionally inquisitive and
always thoughtful. No lunch with Michael lasted less
than three hours and no subject was too prosaic or
obscure to attract his interest. Sexual politics, medical
and scientific ethics, anthropology, archaeology,
economics, astronomy, astrology, quantum physics
and molecular biology were all regular topics of
conversation." --- ER Executive Producer John Wells
"A modern-day Renaissance man. He was a physician,
writer, director and producer -- few people have done
so many things so well. As creator and producer of
NBC's ER, he helped change the face of televised
drama."--- NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker
"He was a nice man, and he died too young — too
young." Ray Bradbury
"Michael Crichton was the original creator of E.R. He
really based E.R. on his life as a young medical doctor.
Michael was always really proud of the fact he had
created something and passed it on. He was the
starter of it all. He will be greatly missed."
--- Star of ER Anthony Edwards
from MICHAEL CRICHTON OFFICIAL WEBSITE HERE