Monday, April 06, 2009

Hidden Treasure, 21st-Century Style

Remember when "hidden treasure" resided in chests buried by pirates? Today's precious assets may be invisible to the naked eye until retrieved from a hard drive.

Case in point, "Pirate Latitudes," an adventure yarn set in Jamaica in the 1600s, found in computer files left by author Michael Crichton.

Although Crichton is best remembered for "Jurassic Park" and other technothrillers, in 1975 he wrote another historical adventure, "The Great Train Robbery." HarperCollins will publish "Pirate Latitudes" in November, reportedly with a print run of one million copies in the U.S.

Crichton died last fall. Five times married, he left a pre-nup, a living trust … and a potential estate melodrama. See Trusts & Estates (subscription required):
In this drama, a famous, wealthy man dies and, four and half months later, his fifth wife gives birth to a son. But this child isn't mentioned in dad's will. So the child's mother gears up to battle a host of beneficiaries to secure the posthumous son's inheritance.
Author's royalties aren't pieces of eight, but they can still add up to treasure worth seeking.

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