"Company, I surmise. There are two to be dispatched. Or perhaps only given a good fright. Or maybe you can use your blade to leave the sign of the cross on their faces, or something of the kind. You will know what to do."
"Who are they?"
Now Saldaña shook his head, as if he had said more than he wanted. "Everything in its time. Besides, my only role is to act as messenger."
The captain drained his jug, thinking hard. In those days, fifteen four-doubloon pieces, in gold, came to more than seven hundred reales. Enough to get him out of difficulty, buy new linens and a suit of clothes, pay off his debts . . . set his life in order a little. Spruce up the two rented rooms where he and I lived on the upper floor of a courtyard behind the tavern, facing the Calle del Arcabuz. Eat hot food without depending on the generous thighs of Caridad la Lebrijana.
"And also," Saldaña added, seeming to follow the thread of the captain's thoughts, "this job will put you in contact with important people. Good for the future."
"My future," the captain echoed, absorbed in his thoughts.
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.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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