I got up this morning and realized I hadn’t written my weekly blog post.

“Oh, no,” I thought. “What will all my fans think?”

Feeling sufficiently remorseful, I thought I would try and get it written during my lunch. Now, don’t take me wrong. Giving up my lunch to write a blog post may not sound like a great sacrifice. The one hour in the middle of the work day is probably my most coherent, and therefore, my most creatively productive, hour of the day. During Nanowrimo I would often get 1200 to 1500 words written. (I would go over 15 minutes or so if I didn’t have a patient waiting. I don’t think I ever got 1500 words in one hour.) Some of my best ideas, plot twists and conflicts came to me over a Subway sandwich. So I could be editing my current novel or working on the rewrite of my next podiobook.com serial, but, no. I am dedicated to my faithful followers and want to give you my regular 600 words of drivel.

Today’s easy, though. It’s the review of Tim Powers’s book, ‘On Stranger Tides’. Besides, I have to write that one today; I’ve started listening to another book, and the first will soon be lost to my limited memory if I don’t write it down soon. (I thought I would build my repertoire of ‘Classic Science Fiction’ stories under my belt and have started listening to ‘Flowers for Algernon’, which I will likely review next week.”

Having completed my second Tim Powers book, I would gladly declare myself a Tim Powers fan. (James P. Blaylock is still in first place.) Powers creates a believable fantasy that sucks me in. His writing is descriptive and absorbing. I know that’s how I describe any book I like, but, that’s what I’m looking for in a story. I want to be taken away from real life and immersed into a new world with fascinating characters, colorful, dimensional environment, and riveting conflict and action. I want to see characters grow and change. It all happens in this tale of piracy, magic and romance. Romance? Come on, it’s a pirate story, there had to be some love story in it.

When I looked on the internet to see if any of the characters, besides Blackbeard, were people from real life, I found a lot of references to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’, and I thought, “Huh. They named the fourth movie in their series the same name as Powers book.” One wiki, somewhere, said that Powers wrote his book shortly after the first ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie and Disney optioned it to use as the basis for their fourth movie.

If you never heard that, you would never see any resemblance between the two works. At one point in the book, the main character, John Shon-don-yack, (I never saw it written, so I don’t know how to really spell it) renamed Jack Shandy by the pirate captain, Philip Davies, runs along a banquet table. As I remember the move, Jack Sparrow does that too. And in the movie, I think they’re looking for the fountain of youth, I don’t really remember, I just remember the mermaid in the glass case, but, that is the main idea of the book; Finding the fountain of youth, living forever, and magic that the pirates used.

There are multiple colorful characters. Blackbeard is one of them, though not must more than Philip Davies. John Shandy is resourceful and believable. In most cases I ended up liking the pirates who came off as the good guys. I also liked that the bad guys weren’t the royal navy. Though they did play a protagonistic part with the pirates, the bad guys were two men plotting for immortality, seeking the fountain of youth and having evil designs for the girl John Sandy falls for.

Again, I give it five stars. One review I read only gave it three because he didn’t like how it ended. I couldn’t see it having a permenent conclusion any other way. The narration on the Audible recording was excellent with multiple voices, both male and female.
Philip ‘Norvaljoe’ Carroll is a staff editor at FlyingIslandPress.com and the author of the podiobooks.com novel, ‘The Price of Friendship’. He is old enough to remember when they added the Pirates of the Caribbean ride to Disney Land. He has two exceptionally bright grand children and is currently restoring his 1965 Barracuda, which he named, ‘The Goldfish’.

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