|On Stranger Tides|
(Listened to audiobook)
On Stranger Tides was the inspiration for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie; please don’t hold that against it. (I haven’t seen the movie, but I know the only points it shares with this book are the character of Blackbeard and the main MacGuffin).
Tim Powers writes some of my favorite fiction. His bailiwick is to take a historical narrative and reinterpret it in an alternate, supernatural world. Small example: in real life the pirate Blackbeard wove lit slow matches into his hair and beard to intimidate his enemies. In On Stranger Tides, Blackbeard does this to appease a spirit who is placated by smoldering fire. It’s the blending of numerous historical facts with fictional motivations that makes Powers’s books stand out to me.
On Stranger Tides is Powers’s re-imagining of the golden age of piracy in a world where voodoo is real. As always, his plot is fast-paced, his characters are nuanced, and the writing itself clever.
While I prefer Declare and Three Days to Never, On Stranger Tides is another top-notch entry in the Tim Powers catalogue.