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Patrick O'Brian
'Pirate Latitudes' by Michael Crichton

When it comes to popular entertainment, the late Michael Crichton was about as successful as any writer could hope to be. His 15 novels and four nonfiction works have sold a staggering 150 million copies worldwide. Fourteen of his books were made into films. By the time he died last year at the age of 66, he'd also written or co-authored 10 screenplays and created two television series for which he wrote multiple episodes. In 1994, he became the only writer in history to achieve what might be called the popular author's grand slam, when he simultaneously had the top-grossing film in theaters, the most popular series on television and the country's bestselling book. (The movie...

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