Book : On Stranger Tides (1987)
Author: Tim Powers
Genre : Historical Fantasy
Pages : 405
Cost : Rs.275 (Amazon)
GR8 Meter: 4.5/8 YES
Tim Powers has written a novel on pirate surroundings in 1987’On Stranger Tides’ which later becomes inspiration for the 4th installment of Pirates of the Caribbean series. This novel came on 2nd spot in Locus poll for best fantasy novel, also nominated for World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. My book was published by Corvus Books UK, I got it for Rs.275 from Amazon.in.
It is a story of a puppeteer John Chandaganac, who was aboard a ship Vociferous CarMichael, alongwith many other passengers including a lady Beth Hurwood and her father Benjamin Hurwood, and her doctor Dr.Leo Friend. But then the ship was being attacked by a pirate sloop ‘Jenny’ which was captained by 1 famous pirate Philip Davies. He took control of the ship and make everyone prisoner, but we came to know that Benjamin & Leo has some other motives, and they actually planned this attack alongwith pirates. They are well verse in black magic, and need one final ingredient to complete their magic powers, they have to take help of a very powerful black magic performer pirate named ‘Blackbeard’ to reach a secret magic place ‘Fountain of Youth’ at Florida’s coast, and that’s not all, everybody here has a motive to outdo other and complete their own tasks. This is the crux of this 405 pgs novel(I took 25 days to complete it).
This was the 6th novel from Timothy Powers. Tim Powers is an American author born on 29th feb 1952, and most of his novels are using secret histories, using thrill, fantasy mashed up with secret history thing. His critically acclaimed novels includes ‘Last Call’ and ‘Declare’, though I cannot comment much, since this is my first read of him. Let me tell you about this particular novel. It is a good story, revolving around pirates, black magic, order of the new world theories and all of that, very well thought, and written, the incidents make a good concept of of a different setting, but somehow I feel that the book lost one purpose while writing, I didn’t get the sense of direction. For e.g. Every book (atleast a fiction) has a starting and has an end, sole purpose to direct a story throughout those page, and end it at a climax, this thing was absent in this novel. Yes the story has an end, but the story wanders without directions. It started with a puppeteer converting to a pirate, then it focused on other characters, came the pirate captains & Blackbeard, then it focused on father-daughter duo and ill magician doctor, then it wanders to the love of lead characters and puppeteer-cum-pirate fight to get his love. Characterization was not that perfect, you have to just started reading about t hem without any introductions. And sometime this one pops out, held the center-stage, then some other guy, so-all-in-all whole novel is non-linearly written.
The book’s language is hard, and it took a toll in the beginning to understand the words, maybe you need to consult a dictionary, though no book can beat JRR Tolkien’s ‘Silmarilion’, but author has given some comparisons to explain some situation, so if you’re not aware of them, then you need to concentrate hard, this is one more negative point of this book. But yes it will satisfy your fantasy-hunger, if you love adventure with fantasy. Thought not of the best of books, but it will keep you engage if you’re the type of reader I’m. Book is little fat, so serious readers can give try but the novice should avoid. I will rate this book as 4.5/8 for the quotient it provided, ignoring other facts, it can be read atleast once.
Jai Raam ji ki:)