The first in a magnificent series of five historical novels from the
acclaimed, bestselling author of The Club Dumas and The Queen of the
Captain Alatriste is the story of a fictional seventeenth-century Spanish soldier who, after being wounded in battle during the Thirty Years' War, is forced to retire from the army. Now he lives the comparatively tame - though hardly quiet - life of a swordsman-for-hire in Madrid. Approached with an offer of work, Alatriste is told to go with another hired blade to an unfamiliar part of the city at midnight and wait. They are received by men who explain that they want Alatriste and his companion to ambush two travelers the following evening, stage a robbery, and give the men a fright. "No blood," they are told.
But then a third figure enters the room. He says the job requires some clarification: he increases the pay, and tells them that, instead, they must murder the two travelers. Then he reveals his identity: Emilio Bocanegra. It is a name synonymous with the Spanish Inquisition, the bloodiest name in Europe. This is a man whose requests cannot be denied.
But the following night, with the attack imminent, it becomes clear to Alatriste that these aren't ordinary travelers. And what happens next is only the first in a series of riveting twists and turns, with implications that will reverberate throughout the courts of Europe.
For anyone who loves the work of Arturo Pérez-Reverte-and those who have not yet discovered the delights of this extraordinary writer - Captain Alatriste is one of the most stylish, singular pleasures to come along in years.
First published in Spanish in 1996, published in English in 2005.
I. The Tavern of the Turk
He was not the most honest or pious of men, but he was
courageous. His name was Diego Alatriste y Tenorio, and he had fought
in the ranks during the Flemish wars. When I met him he was barely
making ends meet in Madrid, hiring himself out for four maravedís
in employ of little glory, often as a swordsman for those who had
neither the skill nor the daring to settle their own quarrels. You know
the sort I mean: a cuckolded husband here, outstanding gambling debts
there, a petty lawsuit or questionable inheritance, and more troubles
of that kind. It is easy to criticize now, but in those days the
capital of all the Spains was a place where a man had to fight for his
life on a street corner lighted by the gleam of two blades.
In all this Diego Alatriste played his part with panache. He showed great skill when swords were...
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (366 words).
For those who are interested in such things,
from piecing together a few words from the
in Spanish it looks to me as if the original series order
1. El capitán Alatriste/Captain Alatriste
2. Limpieza de Sangre/The Purity of Blood (Jan 2006)
3. Patente de Corso/The Sign of The Marque*
4. El Sol de Breda/The Sun of Breda
5. El Oro del Rey/The Gold of the King*
The Purity of Blood and The Sun of Breda are scheduled for publication in ...
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