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The Fencing Master Paperback – Bargain Price, June 7, 2004
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The year is 1866 and revolution is brewing in Spain. The corrupt Bourbon queen, Isabella II, is slowly losing her grip on power as equally corrupt exiled politicians vie to be her successor in a new republic. Against this background of political upheaval, Don Jaime goes about his business, teaching a dying art to a dwindling number of students. This is a man who resists changing times; to a friend he explains, "I have spent my whole life trying to preserve a certain idea of myself, and that is all. You have to cling to a set of values that do not depreciate with time. Everything else is the fashion of the moment, fleeting, mutable. In a word, nonsense." But then Adela de Otero--a woman with a mysterious past and an amazing talent for swordplay--comes into his life, and Don Jaime's world is turned upside down. As always, Pérez-Reverte offers literary excellence, a thumping good mystery, and fascinating insight into an arcane practice, in this case, fencing. Though the 19th-century politics in the book may resonate more with a Spanish audience than with English readers, the moral at the heart of The Fencing Master is universal: "to be honest, or at least honorable--anything, indeed, that has its roots in the word honor." In this, Don Jaime and Arturo Pérez-Reverte both succeed. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Fencing Master combines a gripping plot, elegant prose, and intense, powerful descriptions of fencing duels that may at times leave you breathless. Think of the grace and beauty in Hemingway's depiction of bullfighting in The Sun Also Rises, and you may have some sense of how masterfully Perez-Reverte has captured the essence of the art of fencing. With each turn of the page you will feel transported to a different time and place. The stylish prose and authoritative narrative voice fill this novel with an authentic period feel. And each sentence conveys an understated sense of strength, pride, honor, integrity, and passion that make this book and its hero simply unforgettable.
The story follows an aging fencing instructor, Don Jamie, whose personal code of honor defines him as he attempts to live outside the "real" world around him. He is a rigid and exacting "maestro" to the few remaining pupils he has (guns have all but supplanted swords), and an amusingly old-fashioned expert to the wealthy nobleman he spars with every day. His only other human contact is with a group of yammering men who gather every day in a café to argue politics-and whose main function is to deliver the political background the reader requires to understand the rest of the story (although as indicated above, their arguments are not very effective in this).
Don Jamie is a portrait of a faded gentleman, with all his best experiences behind him, he almost revels in his self-constructed persona of a man of honor (and little else). When a beautiful woman comes to his door and demands instruction in the male-only art of fencing, it catapults him into a dark intrigue.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good read, but nothing too special. Read in Spain because of setting. Glad I did, but this is not a must read.Published 9 months ago by D. Daugherty
I love Perez-Reverte's novels: they are the thinking person's mysteries, and The Fencing Master lives up to expectations, always in a different era, with meticulous attention to... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jan Roll-Mederos
Once again I must admit I am a fan, even so i do think that this is my favorite of his books to date. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Donald Tilleman