“On Stranger Tides” reviewed, or how to mix history and fantasy in a very fun way

Continuing my tour of blogging about books published decades ago (because a good book is a good book no matter how long it takes you to get around to it …), I highly recommend “On Stranger Tides,” by Tim Powers.

This thoroughly engaging novel at times made me think of Rafael Sabatini, H.P. Lovecraft, the movie wizard battle between Gandalf and Saruman, Ramsey Campbell, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films ( the last of which adapted the plot of this book), Alexandre Dumas, role-playing games and several other very cool things.

Splendid prose, too.

A potent blend of pirate adventure and voodoo, “On Stranger Tides” features big magic, big action, intrigue, weirdness and more. It blends genuine pirate history with some bended pirate history. At times fantastically goofy and at times genuinely disturbing, it is a tough book to pin down — and a tough book to put down.
I have not seen the film that adapted this story, so I am not able to tell you how the two relate to one another. No one in the book reminded me at all of Captain Jack Sparrow, though.


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