Excerpt from Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Captain Alatriste

by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2005, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2005, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"I shall grease my poems with the fat of the pig

So that gnat Góngora cannot chew off a piece. . . ."

He began to improvise there on the spot, weaving a little, hand still clutching the hilt of his sword, while the strangers tried to apologize and the captain and his table companions held on to don Francisco to keep him from drawing his sword and going for the offenders.

"But by God, that is an insult," the poet cried, trying to loose the right hand his friends were gripping so tightly, while with his free hand he adjusted his twisted eyeglasses. "A bit of steel will make things, hic, right."

"That is too much steel to squander so early in the day, don Francisco," Diego Alatriste sensibly interceded.

"It seems very little to me." Without taking his eyes off his perceived tormentors, the poet ferociously smoothed his mustache. "But we will be generous: one hand's breadth of steel for each of these hijosdalgo, who are sons of something, no doubt, but very certainly not sons of hidalgos."

These were fighting words, so the strangers made as if to claim their swords and go outside. The captain and the other friends, helpless to prevent the confrontation, asked them please to make allowances for the poet's alcoholic state and simply quit the field, adding that there was no glory in fighting a drunk opponent, or shame in withdrawing prudently to prevent greater harm.

"Bella gerant alii,"
suggested Dómine Pérez, trying to temporize.

Dómine Pérez was a Jesuit priest who tended his flock in the nearby church of San Pedro y San Pablo. His kindly nature and his Latin phrases tended to have a soothing effect, for he spoke them in a tone of unquestionable good sense. The two strangers, however, knew no Latin, and the insult of being called sonsofsomethingorother was difficult to brush off. Besides, the cleric's mediation was undercut by the scoffing banter of Licenciado Calzas, a clever, cynical rascal who haunted the courts, a specialist in defending causes he could convert into endless trials that bled his clients of their last maravedís. The licenciado loved to stir things up, and he was always goading every Juan, José, and Tomasillo.

"You do not want to lose face, don Francisco," he said in a low voice. "They will pay the court costs, defend your honor."

So all those gathered round prepared to witness an event that would appear the next day in the sheets of Avisos y noticias, the city's purveyor of notices and news. And Captain Alatriste, failing in his efforts to calm his friend, but knowing he would not leave don Francisco alone in the fray, began to accept as inevitable that he would be crossing swords with these strangers.

"Aio te vincere posse,"
Dómine Pérez concluded with resignation, as Licenciado Calzas hid his laughter by snorting into his jug of wine. With a deep sigh, the captain started to get up from the table. Don Francisco, who already had drawn four fingers of his sword from its scabbard, shot him a comradely look of thanks, and even had the brass to direct a couplet to him.

"You, Diego, whose sword so nobly defends

The name and honor of your family . . ."

From Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte. Copyright 1996 by Arturo Perez-Reverte. All rights reserved. Excerpt reproduced with the permission of the Putnam Publishing.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Wonderful Feels Like This
    Wonderful Feels Like This
    by Sara Lovestam
    High school is hard; or perhaps, more accurately, growing up and finding oneself is hard. This is ...
  • Book Jacket: Blue Light Yokohama
    Blue Light Yokohama
    by Nicolas Obregon
    Blue Light Yokohama, Nicolás Obregón's crime fiction debut, takes place in an exotic ...
  • Book Jacket: Inferno
    Inferno
    by Steven Hatch
    The word "Ebola" sets off an almost visceral reaction in many of us; we think about the men, women ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Scribe of Siena
    by Melodie Winawer

    Equal parts transporting love story, meticulously researched historical fiction, and compelling time-travel narrative.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Book of Summer
    by Michelle Gable

    The bestselling author of The Paris Apartment, Michelle Gable now transports readers to Nantucket.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Chalk Pit

The Chalk Pit:
A Ruth Galloway Mystery

A string of murders takes Ruth underground in the newest book in the series.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T W Don't M A R

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -