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Purity of Blood Paperback – November 28, 2006

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Purity of Blood + The Sun Over Breda (Captain Alatriste #3) + The King's Gold: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (November 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452287987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452287983
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Those looking for seriously entertaining thrills will welcome Pérez-Reverte's second 17th-century Spanish swashbuckler featuring the exploits of stoic, honorable Capt. Diego Alatriste (after 2005's Captain Alatriste). A father and two brothers accompany Alatriste on a mission to rescue their sister from the convent in which she has been imprisoned. Things go wrong when an old enemy of the captain ensures that Alatriste's ward, 13-year-old Inigo Balboa, falls into the hands of the Inquisition. With the aid of the great Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo, all is made right. Rich in historical detail and sardonic observations, the narrative begins leisurely. The pace picks up, but the action is never so breathless as to sweep the reader along, as with Captain Alatriste. Still, this will matter little to fans, who are sure to look forward to further installments in the series. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

In yet another example of our trade deficit, the United States continues to do well by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. His books, The Club Dumas, The Seville Communion, and The Fencing Master, all translated from the Spanish, have gotten quite cozy with our domestic best-seller lists. So last year Putnam launched the Captain Alatriste series, previously published in Pérez-Reverte’s native Spain, with the first volume, Captain Alatriste (**** Selection Sept/Oct 2005). Critics praised this second installment for its taut plotting, sense of place, and old-fashioned derring-do. Good news for fans of the series: three more installments await translation, and the author has committed to rounding it out to a lucky seven titles.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I read this book in a matter of hours.
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
Perez-Reverte is, as always, skillful in crafting an interesting story with strong scene setting, high adventure and solid characters.
Kevin M. Derby
The plot keeps moving, and even though the ending appears to be a bit contrived, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Frank J. Konopka

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig VINE VOICE on January 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
4 and 1/2 stars.

"Purity of Blood" is Arturo Pérez-Reverte's exciting sequel to "Captain Alatriste". Written in the swashbuckling style of Dumas and set in early 17th-century Madrid, "Captain Alatriste" introduced us to the hero of Captain Diego Alatriste. Diego is newly returned from Spain's war in Flanders and ready to hire himself out as a bodyguard and general sword-for-hire.

"Purity of Blood" finds Diego on a new adventure. His friend, Don Francisco de Quevado, introduces Diego to an aging father who seeks to rescue his daughter from a convent. The convent is not a place of worship but, rather a place of obscene debauchery overseen by an aristocratic priest with connections at the court of King Phillip IV. The father's attempt to seek the release of his daughter is met with a threat to reveal the family as `conversos' (Catholics who have Jewish blood). Exposure as a converse is a powerful threat in a country in which the forces of the inquisition can imprison torture and burn conversos at the stake.

The story is narrated by Inigo Balboa, Alatriste's young page, in the manner of Dr. Watson's memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. As with any Holmes story, the game is quickly afoot and Alatriste launches a rescue attempt. Alatriste quickly discovers that the best laid plans of mice and swordsmen-for-hire can be beset with complications. Antagonists from his first adventure, particularly the Italian assassin Gualterio Malatesta, return to seek revenge both on Alatriste and Balboa for their actions in "Captain Alatriste".

Pérez-Reverte does an excellent job moving the story along. As one might expect in a series, the character of Alatriste and the other recurring players introduced in Captain Alatriste are fleshed out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on March 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This second, after "Captain Alatriste," in a projected series of seven by the Spanish best-selling author features Diego Alatriste, a taciturn, brooding 17th century soldier, mercenary and man of honor, and his 13-year-old ward Inigo Balboa in a story as filled with atmosphere as it is action.

The atmosphere is pretty gritty, having mostly to do with the Inquisition and the Madrid underworld of cutthroats, criminals and fugitives of all kinds. Narrated by Balboa some years after the events, the story takes place in 1623. Alatriste accepts a job from a converso family - Jews who converted to Christianity - to rescue their daughter from a convent that is run more like a brothel than a house of God.

But the rescue goes awry and in the ensuing mayhem Balboa is captured by the Inquisition, though not without putting up quite a fight. Thereafter the narrative alternates between Balboa's interrogations and experiences in prison and Alatriste's efforts to find and rescue him while eluding capture himself.

The characters are well fleshed out and Balboa's voice is particularly wry and appealing. Alatriste paints a vivid picture of 17th century Spain and its politics, daily life and dangers. There's plenty of action, though it's more thoughtful than swashbuckling. Not quite at the level of Patrick O'Brian's seafaring adventures, this should appeal to readers who enjoy that level of historical detail and literate writing with their derring-do.

-- Portsmouth Herald
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A. C. Walter on February 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Arturo Perez-Reverte's "Purity of Blood" is second in the Captain Alatriste series of historical adventure novels, currently a 5-volume series of books which began publication in Spain in the mid 1990s. The books follow the adventures of Captain Alatriste and his adolescent protege Inigo Balboa as they swashbuckler their way through 17th-century Spain. The Alatriste books are obviously aimed closer to the commercial market than much of Perez-Reverte's other work, evoking associations as they do with "The Three Musketeers" or Johnston McCulley's Zorro stories. "Purity of Blood" is set against the backdrop of the Spanish Inquisition. During one of Alatriste's adventures, he and his companions fall into a trap and young Inigo--framed as a "Judaizer"--falls afoul of the Inquisition.

The book does have its good moments, such as the scene in which Alatriste, trying to find some way to rescue Inigo, confronts a most powerful politician, a bureaucrat at first disinclined to give them any aid. Pushed to desperation, Alatriste, usually a quiet, stoic man, delivers a monologue in which we see the undeniable potency of melodrama:

"'Excellency. I have nothing but the sword I live by and my record of service, which means nothing to anyone.' The captain spoke very slowly, as if thinking aloud more than addressing the first minister of two worlds. 'Neither am I a man of many words or resources. But they are going to burn an innocent lad whose father, my comrade, died fighting in those wars that are as much the king's as they are yours. Perhaps I, and Lope Balboa, and Balboa's son, do not tip the scale that Your Excellency so rightly mentioned.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ramesh Gopal VINE VOICE on February 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the sequel to Captain Alatriste and continues with the Three Musketeers-like adventures of the eponymous captain in seventeenth century Madrid. It is essential to read the previous book to appreciate the story. Old conflicts and grudges are carried forward into this new story. A plan to rescue a nun from an abusive convent goes awry and Inigo Balboa finds himself in the Toledo dungeons of the Inquisition. I did like Captain Alatriste more than this second book. Now that we have been introduced to the characters, the novelty has worn off and there seems to be a lot of talk, but too little action to fill a whole book. On the other hand, the descriptions of the life of the period are fascinating as always. I think the most notable and interesting aspect of the book is its account of the working of the Spanish Inquisition.
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