Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On Stranger Tides, by Tim Powers

(hb; 1987)

From the inside flap:

"Sailing unwittingly into this unsavory company comes one John Chandagnac, bookkeeper and puppeteer. He seems an unlikely candidate for piracy, or the machinations of dark sorcery. But christened Jack Shandy by a drunken pirate captain, he may turn out to be one of the greatest of them all. . .

"A hunt for unearthly spirits with the aid of a mummified two-headed dog. A journey through the Florida swamps in search of the Fountain of Youth. A battle at sea with the Royal English Navy. An encounter with sunken ships crewed by zombies. . ."

Review:

Jack Chandagnac is on his way to reclaim a stolen inheritance when pirates seize the ship he's on; he gets a choice: join the pirate crew, or die.

He chooses to join them, falling in love with another non-pirate passenger, Beth Hurwood, as he does so.

Problem is, he and Beth are caught up in the dark-magic schemings of Beth's father (Benjamin Hurwood), her father's toadlike companion (Leo Friend), and an equally dark rendezvous with Edward Thatch, more commonly called Blackbeard.

These three men (Hurwood, Friend, Blackbeard) seek the Fountain of Youth, located in the dangerous-strange swamps of Florida, toward various ends -- all of them involving the death of Chandagnac's love, Beth.

Engaging, exhilarating, and bursting at the seams with action and black magic, On Stranger Tides is a rollicking work that never lets up: it has zombies, pirates, ghosts, vodun, terrifying sea storms and soul-claiming, ick-inducing swamps.

Check this out.

On Stranger Tides is the source/plot-structural overlay novel for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Johnny Depp is scheduled to resume his role of Jack Sparrow. Geoffrey Rush is rumored to returning as Barbossa.

Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, who respectively played Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner in the first three Pirates films, have passed on taking part in the fourth Pirates film.

On a further disheartening note, Gore Verbinski who helmed the first three films, won't be directing the fourth. Rob Marshall, a director known for visual panache but little cinematic substance, will direct the upcoming film, which is scheduled for a May 20, 2011 stateside release.

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