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Captain Alatriste Hardcover – May 5, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
International bestseller Pérez-Reverte (The Club Dumas) offers a winning swashbuckler set in 17th-century Spain. Hooded figures, apparently acting on the behalf of Fray Emilio Bocanegra, "president of the Holy Tribunal of the Inquisition," hire famed soldier Capt. Diego Alatriste to murder two Englishmen who have come to Madrid. One of the hooded figures, however, begs Alatriste (out of earshot of the others) only to wound the pair. When Alatriste and his fellow assassin, an ill-humored Italian, surprise the British, the captain is impressed by the fighting spirit they show, and he prevents the assassination from taking place. (The Italian, infuriated, swears eternal revenge.) When the Englishmen turn out to be on an important mission, Alatriste suddenly finds himself caught between a number of warring factions, Spanish and otherwise. Splendidly paced and filled with a breathtaking but not overwhelming sense of the history and spirit of the age, this is popular entertainment at its best: the characters have weight and depth, the dialogue illuminates the action as it furthers the story and the film-worthy plot is believable throughout. Agent, Howard Morhaim. (May 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
If you read The Queen of the South (***1/2 Sept/Oct 2004), you already know what a sure, confident writer Pérez-Reverte is. In fact he is one of the few authors about whom the appellation "international best-seller" actually means something. Captain Alatriste, which has sold over a million copies in Spain, is just now being released across the ocean. Reviewers seem confident that American readers will gobble it up as well. The historical detail is engaging, but never heavy-handed. The characters (some, like the painter Velázquez or poet Francisco de Quevedo, real) are well-rounded. The prose is taut and the pace quick. Captain Alatriste is sure to both delight and whet your appetite for the second in the series, Purity of Blood, due out next January. The film starring Viggo Mortensen probably wont hurt either.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
Though written originally in Spanish, and I can't say anything about that original style, the English prose style of this translator I truly enjoy. The prose is laconic and yet precise. There is no thick and unnecessary wordiness in these Alatriste books and that itself distinguishes them among the genre.
The interior world of the Roman Catholic Spaniard is not well known to the American. I can't think of a better and easier introduction into some of the themes of that era which continue to imbibe elements of Hispanic culture today.
I recommend it unreservedly.
When I read here at Amazon the synopsis for Captain Alatriste, I was very exited. Perez Riverte set out to create a his own Three Musketeer, and revive a forgotten and somewhat looked down at genre - The swashbuckler romance . I admit - I had high expectations from this book, and hoped to find it as captivating and exiting as Club Dumas.
Iike Alexander Dumas, Perez Riverte spins an adventure story set in real historic Background, around real events and with real historic figures.
As a tribute and Homage to "The three musketeers" there is even a Milady here - a beautiful and deadly blond woman who seems to have a hand at every misfortune the hero Captain Alatriste and his young squire will encounter. But unfortunately the resemblance ends here.
Most disappointingly - the adventure part of the book is very small: while most of the volume is dedicated to introducing the settings and the atmosphere of Spain of that time there is not much going on plot wise.
I love historic novels and usually having a solid view of the historical and political circumstances of the plot and characters would be a huge plus for me, but having 70 percent of the book lecturing me on and on on the greatness of Spain is overbearing and tedious.
With so much atmosphere and not enough actual plot I found this book to be mostly dull . It seems that the author forgot that even in books sometimes action speak louder than words, and he should acquaint us to his characters not by telling us over and over how brave and noble they are, but by letting us judge for ourselves from their deeds.
Also The author made an odd choice and chose to write the book in the first person as a story told by Inigo, The captain's 13 yrs old squire. I say odd because the are so many description of the captain's inner thoughts, his memories from people and places that Inigo Had no way of knowing and telling about in such detail. How can another person tell exactly what popped into an other's man head? How exactly he felt, and exactly how his bright grey eyes reflected the flickering candle light if he wasn't even in the room at the same time?
Even though I didn't enjoy this book I didn't give up and continued to read it's sequel "Purity of blood" which is more quick pacing and enjoyable.
However - the third installment in the series "Sun over Breda" proved to be one of the most boring book I have ever encountered, and I dropped it before reaching to the middle.
Let me preface this review by saying that in general, I am fan of most works of fiction, especially of the Dark, Middle, High Middle and Renaissance ages- before the advent of gunpowder weapons if you will. As a youngster, I was more inclined to read works of fiction that dealt primarily with swashbuckler style characters and fast and furious sword action. This novel serves that up, along with the intrigues of the time, in spades- but not of the Errol Flynn variety; no, the exchanges in this novel are much more abrupt, visceral and deadly.
I think I would have enjoyed this novel more if I did not have any pre-established notions of what it should be about- the prose is very straight forward with no embellishment. Some people enjoy this sort of writing, but I don't necessarily. This is a trilogy set so one should probably read all three books but at the end of the first one, I found I knew as little about Captain Alatriste then as I did when I first began. Since the narrator is Alatriste's own man, I expected to know a bit more about the man than I have learned thus far. I'm still not sure that I'll read the rest since I didn't fall in love to begin with.
In short, I've read better books, but I've also read worse- in the end, you'll need to decide which category this books fits for you. For me, it was just 'meh'.