Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ongoing "Inspirography"

Some time ago I posted a review of the novel Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton, as part of a list of pirate-related, non-RPG material. This continues now with two  more reviews.


Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom
Written by A.C. Crispin; published by Disney Press in 2011

I struggled with this book when I first started, for two reasons. One was the length; checking in at around 650 pages, I knew it would take a while to read. As I'd recently read On Stranger Tides, and reread Captain Blood and Pirate Latitudes--all of which were just over three hundred pages--I was hesitant to commit to a book that would be as long as any two of them kind. Once I did start reading, there was also the matter of extensive use of flashbacks that was rather off-putting. This meant that the book took its time before focussing on the main action of the story.

The book did prove to be worth the effort, though. After a while it became apparent that the use of flashbacks was a good way to tell the story. A.C. Crispin clearly did her research for this book; it is filled with colorful and authentic details about sailing and life aboard a ship. It also blends in well with the canon of the Pirates of the Caribbean world, setting up some history for Captain Jack Sparrow along with other characters. All in all I'd recommend it to anyone who liked the movies and is ready to commit to a book of this length.

Silver: My Own Tale As Written by Me with a Goodly Amount of Murder
Written by Edward Chupack and Published by St. Martin's Press in 2008

Every few years it seems that somebody else writes a novel adding to the story of Treasure Island. Some are sequels, and some are prequels. This book is one of the latter. It purports to tell the history of Long John Silver, with his rise from street urchin to serving boy to sailor. In doing so the author reinterprets many of the characters and incidents in the classic novel, weaving them into a tale that in the end bears only a small resemblance to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel. It contains lots of intrigue and, for me, the engaging use of codes and other puzzles. I was disappointed by the reinterpretation of some of the characters, however. In the end I felt that this story didn't need to be tied to the classic work of pirate fiction, but should have been completely its own work. Of course, then it wouldn't have benefitted from the drawing power of being called a prequel.

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