On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers
|Recently re-released (just in time for Pirate of The Caribbean mania) by Babbage Press, On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers is, perhaps, the best pirate novel of all time.|
I realize that this is incredibly high praise when taking into consideration Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini, however I stand by the assertion. And not only is It a pirate novel, it's a pirate fantasy novel.
Jack Shandy is on a mission of revenge when his ship is taken by pirates. After attacking the pirate captain (after said captain has killed the original captain of the vessel Shandy was sailing upon) and actually scoring a hit against this feared swordsman, Shandy is given a choice; join us or die.
Being the pragmatic sort, Shandy leaps with both feet into pirate life, replete with voodoo sorcery, constant drunkenness, and shipboard battle. After a run-in with the British fleet, Shandy joins Blackbeard in the search for the mythical Fountain of Youth. Zombies, ghosts, and deadly voodoo magic abound. And the requisite damsel-in-distress, of course.
The prose, plotting, etc? This is Tim Powers, and a Tim Powers novel can stand next to any fantasy novel ever penned. And this is one of his best.
If you enjoy swashbuckling derring-do, or for that matter, loved The Lies of Locke Lamora as much as I did, this is a perfect time to pick up and read On Stranger Tides for a reasonable price.
This is a very interesting title for collectors. (As are most of Powers' novels.) Ultramarine Press produced two limited editions of On Stranger Tides, a lettered and a numbered. The lettered edition is hand bound in full orange leather, and is signed by Powers. It's value is estimated at 750 dollars.
The numbered edition is quarter bound in red Moroccan leather and sells for between 150-250 dollars. The US first edition from ACE Books is worth somewhere between 50-100 dollars, and the UK first edition from Grafton, and is valued the same, between 50 and 100 dollars.