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Captain Alatriste Paperback – December 27, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Captain Alatriste is set in Madrid, Spain in the early 17th-century. The Spanish Armada had already been defeated but Spain was still the world's greatest superpower. The Captain is recently home from fighting in Flanders in the Dutch war for independence from Spain. He has come home because of a serious wound that has left him unfit for the military. However, and like many of veterans of Spain's wars, he is fit enough to eke out a meager living as something of a gun, or sword, or knife for hire. He collects debts, avenges the honor of cuckolded husbands, and even kills for the right price. He is very good at his job.
The story is narrated by Inigo, the son of one of Alatriste's friends who died in combat while fighting alongside Alatriste. Inigo is sent to Madrid by his impoverished mother, to work for Alatriste. As Inigo notes with some irony, if the mother did not know how the Captain earned a living. The style of the narration is reminiscent of Watson's narratives in Sherlock Holmes.
The plot is rather simple and evokes memories of the plot lines of the swashbuckling books of yesteryear. Alatriste is summoned to meet with some mysterious, yet clearly influential people. He is hired to waylay two young British civilians on their way to Madrid. He receives conflicting information about the extent of the damage he is to inflict on the young men. Partnered up with a sinister accomplice the assault does not go according to plan.Read more ›
There's also a terrific sense of mood and place. The tone is introspective--the narrator is an older man remembering his youth--and the wealth of detail makes seventeenth-century Spain spring vividly to life. The level of literary ability is unusually high; kudos to both the author and to the translator.
There are only two shortcomings in _Captain Alatriste_. First, our hero (the eponymous captain) is rather passive throughout the story. He lets events come to him, rather than taking an active part. Second, much of the book seems to be set-up for later volumes in the series. That's not wholly a bad thing; it certainly made me eager to read the next volume. But it does lend the book a faintly unfinished quality.
Those kvetches aside, I can heartily recommend _Captain Alatriste_ to anyone who likes swordfights, historical novels, or both. And if you don't . . . try it anyway. You might find yourself sucked in.
As has been already noted, Arturo Perez-Reverte's "Captain Alatriste" is for the reader who enjoys a good swashbuckling read that's deeply imbued with the history and spirit of early 17th century Spain.Read more ›
The Captain himself is an anachronism: the embodiment of modern cynicism applied to Spain's neverending, pointless wars for religion, honor, or glory, of which Flanders was the most pointless. On the other hand, the author is trying to inmerse the reader in the baroque feel of the Siglo de Oro, Spain's Golden Century of literature: the age of Cervantes, Calderon de La Barca, and Quevedo (all of whom were also soldiers and the latter two in fact served in Flanders). If the writing feels wordy it is because Sr. Perez-Reverte wrote this book as if he was in the 17th century. He makes you feel as if you are not only there, but then.
I'm a native Spanish speaker and I read this book in the original Spanish. I consider myself a well-educated person and still I constantly had to look up words in the dictionary, the writing was so rich and elaborate. To translate this book into English must have been a monumental challenge which I couldn't begin to fathom. I do hope, however, readers are able to grasp how brilliantly this book lets us glimpse at 17th century Spain through a modern glass without revealing the glass is there at all.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nice historical fiction adventure novel that take place around the 16 century. An spaniard mercenary live.Published 13 days ago by Miguel Navaza
Set in 17th century Spain this is the tale of a swash buckling soldier and expert swordsman who is down on his luck and takes jobs of sometimes questionable honor. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Terra Hangen
Perez-Reverte is the master of the historic novel, a genre that demonstrates his detailed knowledge of historical periods. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Rima A. Kamal
Alatriste is the beginning of a great saga by Perez Reverte. Highly recommended for those looking for an adventure novel with real historical value behind. Read morePublished 13 months ago by PPR
"He was not the most honest or pious of men, but he was courageous. His name was Diego Alatriste y Tenorio, and he fought in the ranks during the Flemish wars. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Dean hamilton
The author's love of Dumas and Sabatini is obvious in every page, and Alatriste is a worthy successor to that tradition. Can't wait to read more.Published 19 months ago by Wayne Turmel