On Stranger Tides

Since I brought up his The Anubis Gates recently, I’m going to do a series on Tim Powers.

I admit we’re not off to the most scintillating start with this one though I think you get some sense of the novel and its differences from the movie it lent it’s name to.

Raw Feed (1988): On Stranger Tides, Tim Powers, 1987.On Stranger Tides

A formula story — hero rescues beautiful maiden in peril — but told with verve, skill and wit. Powers characters are quirky (“I am not a dog!”) and realistic. The action was good, the locale excellent and a very original pirate story. Powers had a stroke of genius in combining a classic pirate story with very technical, almost scientific vodoo. The story avoided the trap of Jack Shandy becoming a master at vodoo just a master of it. His progression in a career of piracy was well done. Liked the Davies character and his relationship with Shandy. Fantasy was clear, crisp and fast moving. Liked multi-levels of story as Shandy, ex-puppeteer, stops being a puppet himself and again becomes a master of events. Powers has a flair for action that doesn’t sacrifice humor (of a dry, ironical sort — infinitely preferable to wise-cracking heroes). I liked his use of real characters like Blackbeard (wonderfully transformed into an ambitious dark sorcerer) and especially Juan Ponce de Leon who gives our hero some handy advice.


More reviews of fantastic fiction are indexed by title and author/editor.

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