Captain Alatriste (Capitan Alatriste Series #1)

( 28 )


The novels of Arturo Pérez-Reverte have captivated readers around the world and earned him a reputation as “the master of the intellectual thriller” (Chicago Tribune). His books have been published in fifty countries. Now, beginning with Captain Alatriste, comes Pérez-Reverte’s most stunning creation to date: a riveting series featuring the adventures of an iconic hero.

Captain Alatriste is the story of a fictional seventeenth-century Spanish soldier who lives as a ...

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Captain Alatriste

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The novels of Arturo Pérez-Reverte have captivated readers around the world and earned him a reputation as “the master of the intellectual thriller” (Chicago Tribune). His books have been published in fifty countries. Now, beginning with Captain Alatriste, comes Pérez-Reverte’s most stunning creation to date: a riveting series featuring the adventures of an iconic hero.

Captain Alatriste is the story of a fictional seventeenth-century Spanish soldier who lives as a swordsman-for-hire in Madrid. Needing gold to pay off his debts, Alatriste and another hired blade are paid to ambush two travelers, stage a robbery, and give the travelers a fright. “No blood,” they are told.

Then a mysterious stranger enters to clarify the job: he increases the pay, and tells Alatriste that, instead, he must murder the two travelers. When the attack unfolds, Alatriste realizes that these aren’t ordinary travelers, and what happens next is only the first in a riveting series of twists and turns, with implications that will reverberate throughout the courts of Europe.

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Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
Equipped with a quick-witted, charismatic hero and much to provoke and goad him, Mr. Pérez-Reverte has the makings of a flamboyantly entertaining series. Captain Alatriste ends with a wicked flourish, an evil laugh and a strong likelihood that the best is yet to come.
— The New York Times
Denver Post
Captain Alatriste serves up the goods and whets the appetite for the rest of the five-book series to come.
Publishers Weekly
International bestseller Perez-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 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
That master of the international thriller here reinvents a hero of Spain's 16th-century imperial warfare. The basis of a forthcoming film starring Viggo Mortensen. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The first of a projected five historicals from Perez-Reverte (The Queen of the South, 2004, etc.) about the dashing fighter and gallant Alatriste. When he's 13, in 1620 or so, I-igo Balboa goes to live for good with Captain Alatriste, I-igo's own father being dead (he'd been a comrade in arms with Alatriste) and it being Alatriste's honor to care for the boy. Having achieved high fame as a soldier, Alatriste now earns his living as a hired killer in the dangerous streets and Byzantine politics of imperial Madrid. This doesn't mean he's not good, but certainly that he's dangerous-and that his skills of stealth, cunning and swordplay bring danger to him. Take the case, for example, that comes his way right about the time young I-igo arrives on the scene-a very remunerative matter of quietly snuffing two lone English travelers as, very late at night, they approach their destination. The deed is all but done when something about the victims-something noble-stays Alatriste's blade as he spares the travelers and also awakens the eternal vengeance of his co-hit man, an especially blood-curdling Italian, not to mention the wrath of-yes, of the Inquisition itself, the institution, we learn, behind the attempted killing. And who were the near-victims? Well, of high rank indeed, enough so that their deaths might have altered the fate of nations-and enough so that Alatriste is now in grave danger of losing his own life as one who has foiled the high powers of oppression. How lucky that little I-igo is in the picture, after all, not just so he can tell the story, but so that, as on one especially dark and dangerous night, he can do no less than save Alatriste's life, ensuring that there may be newdeeds aplenty in future. A pleasure of swash, buckle and atmosphere, along with tidy infomercials on topics such as the poetry, theater and the traditions of the day. Film rights to director Agust'n D'az Yanes and Estudios Piccaso/Origen Producciones Cinematograficas S.A., with Viggo Mortensen starring in the Spanish-language film, reportedly budgeted at $24,000,000, which would make it the most expensive Spanish film ever made
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452287112
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/27/2005
  • Series: Capitan Alatriste Series, #1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 475,224
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Arturo Perez-Reverte lives near Madrid. Originally a war correspondent, he now writes fiction full-time. His novels include The Flanders Panel, The Club Dumas, The Fencing Master, The Seville Communion, The Nautical Chart, and The Queen of the South. In 2002, he was elected to the Spanish Royal Academy.

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Read an Excerpt


He was not the most honest or pious of men, but he was courageous. His name was Diego Alatriste y Tenorio, and he had fought in the ranks during the Flemish wars. When I met him he was barely making ends meet in Madrid, hiring himself out for four maravedís in employ of little glory, often as a swordsman for those who had neither the skill nor the daring to settle their own quarrels. You know the sort I mean: a cuckolded husband here, outstanding gambling debts there, a petty lawsuit or questionable inheritance, and more troubles of that kind. It is easy to criticize now, but in those days the capital of all the Spains was a place where a man had to fight for his life on a street corner lighted by the gleam of two blades.

In all this Diego Alatriste played his part with panache. He showed great skill when swords were drawn, even more when with left-handed cunning he wielded the long, narrow dagger some call the vizcaína, a weapon from Biscay that professionals often used to help their cause along. If a knife will not do it, the vizcaína will, was the old saying. The adversary would be concentrating on attacking and parrying, and suddenly, quick as lightning, with one upward slash, his gut would be slit, so fast he would not have time to ask for confession. Oh yes, Your Mercies, those were indeed harsh times.

Captain Alatriste, as I was saying, lived by his sword. Until I came into the picture, that "Captain" was more an honorary title than a true rank. His nickname originated one night when, serving as a soldier in the king's wars, he had to cross an icy river with twenty-nine companions and a true captain. Imagine, Viva España and all that, with his sword clenched between his teeth, and in his shirtsleeves to blend into the snow, all to surprise a Hollandish contingent. They were the enemy at the time because they were fighting for independence. In fact, they did win it in the end, but meanwhile we gave them a merry chase.

Getting back to the captain-the plan was to stay there on the riverbank, or dike, or whatever the devil it was, until dawn, when the troops of our lord and king would launch an attack and join them. To make a long story short, the heretics were duly dispatched without time for a last word. They were sleeping like marmots when our men emerged from the icy water, nearly frozen, shaking off the cold by speeding heretics to Hell, or wherever it is those accursed Lutherans go. What went wrong is that the dawn came, and the morning passed, and the expected Spanish attack did not materialize. A matter, they told later, of old jealousies among the generals and officers in the field. Fact is, thirty-one men were abandoned to their fate, amid curses and vows, surrounded by Low Dutch disposed to avenge the slashed throats of their comrades. With less chance than the Invincible Armada of the good King Philip the Second.

It was a long and very hard day. And in order that Your Mercies may picture what happened, only two of the Spanish made it back to the other bank of the river by the time night fell. Diego Alatriste was one of them, and as all day long he had commanded the troops-the authentic captain having been rendered hors de combat in the first skirmish with two handspans of steel protruding from his back-the title fell to him, though he had no opportunity to enjoy the honor. Captain-for-a-day of troops fated to die, and paying their way to Hell at the cost of their hides, one after another, with the river to their backs and blaspheming in good Castilian Spanish. But that is the way of war and the maelstrom. That is the way it goes with Spain.

Well, then. My father was the other Spanish soldier who returned that night. His name was Lope Balboa; he was from the province of Guipuzcoa, and he, too, was a courageous man. They say that Diego Alatriste and he were very good friends, almost like brothers, and it must be true, because later, on the bulwarks of Julich, where my father was killed by a ball from a harquebus-which was why Diego Velázquez did not include him in his painting of the Surrender of Breda, as he did his friend and fellow Diego, Alatriste, who is indeed there, behind the horse-he swore that he would look after me when I grew out of childhood. And that is why, when I turned thirteen, my mother supplied me with shirt and breeches, and a rosary and a crust of bread tied up in a kerchief, and sent me to live with the captain, taking advantage of a cousin who was traveling to Madrid. Thus it was that I came to enter the service, at a rank somewhere between servant and page, of my father's friend.

A confidence: I very much doubt whether, had she known him well, the mother who gave me birth would so gaily have sent me to his service. But I suppose that the title of captain, though apocryphal, added sheen to his character. Besides, my poor mother was not well and she had two daughters to feed. By sending me off she had one fewer mouth at table and at the same time was giving me the opportunity to seek my fortune at court. So, without bothering to ask further details, she packed me off with her cousin, together with a long letter written by the priest of our town, in which she reminded Diego Alatriste of his promise and his friendship with my deceased father.

I recall that when I attached myself to the captain, not much time had passed since his return from Flanders, because he carried an ugly wound in his side received at Fleurus, still fresh, and the source of great pain. Newly arrived, timid, and as easily frightened as a mouse, on my pallet at night I would listen to him pace back and forth in his room, unable to sleep. And at times I heard him softly singing little verses, interrupted by stabs of pain: Lope's verses, then a curse or a comment to himself, partly resigned and almost amused. That was typical of the captain: to face each of his ills and misfortunes as if they were a kind of inevitable joke that an old, perverse acquaintance found entertaining to subject him to from time to time. Perhaps that was the origin of his peculiar sense of harsh, unchanging, despairing humor.

That was a long time ago, and I am a bit muddled regarding dates. But the story I am going to tell you must have taken place around sixteen hundred and twenty-something. It is the adventure of masked men and two Englishmen, which caused not a little talk at court, and in which the captain not only came close to losing the patched-up hide he had managed to save in Flanders, and in battling Turkish and Barbary corsairs, but also made himself a pair of enemies who would harass him for the rest of his life. I am referring to the secretary of our lord and king, Luis de Alquézar, and to his sinister Italian assassin, the silent and dangerous swordsman named Gualterio Malatesta, a man so accustomed to killing his victims from behind that when by chance he faced them, he sank into deep depressions, imagining that he was losing his touch. It was also the year in which I fell in love like a bawling calf, then and forever, with Angélica de Alquézar, who was as perverse and wicked as only Evil in the form of a blonde eleven- or twelve-year-old girl can be. But we will tell everything in its time.

-- from Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte, Copyright © 2005 Arturo Perez-Reverte, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 28 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 3, 2012

    Captain Alatriste I read Captain Alatriste by Artu

    Captain Alatriste

    I read Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez Reverte. It was published in 1996 and translated to English from Spanish in 2005. Captain Alatriste is about a career swordsman who was once a soldier fighting for good King Philip the 3rd in the war against Holland rebels seeking independence from Spain. I say ‘Good’ because Captain Alatriste and other Spaniards look up to their king as we look up to our president. He was never a real captain his name was Merely Diego Alatriste Tenorio. Alatriste gained the honorary title of captain because he led a group of soldiers to safety. Unfortunately, Inigo’s father was the only one to make it out with him. But that was all a long time ago. Since then Inigo’s father had died and when that happened Inigo himself was sent to be looked over by his father figure Captain Diego Alatriste Tenorio. Inigo is the one that tells this story in a memoir.
    Barely making ends meet in 1620 Madrid Spain as a Hirable swordsman living in an apartment, he was about to get a task that would change all that and that’s when the story really gets interesting. “’I want no deaths’, said the tall masked man.” He had two companions who helped him describe the quest in a dark room. Diego and Don Francisco were friends for a long time. He and Don Francisco were both good swordsmen who got a quest to ambush two men to get their self out of poverty and trouble with the law. After all was said and done at the meeting two of the three men walked out. The third increased the pay and told them to kill the two men riding for the destination of the House of Seven Chimneys. In the end Diego didn’t kill them and told Don Francisco to leave. Don Francisco was mad because he knew and said “This could cost us our necks.” Diego for no good reason committed this act a traitor would make that would surely backfire on him for Don Francisco new people that could easily get Diego killed. He also said he would kill Diego as he ran away. Later Captain Alatriste was arrested and brought to his assigners and was later let go only to be ambushed outside the door by three men in front of Inigo. Inigo was there outside the building called The Gate of Lost Souls, wondering if his master would come out of this or not.
    I’ve never been in this situation before but I probably would do exactly what Inigo did if I was in his position. He realized there were three men going to attack Diego. “I made out a third dark shape, silhouetted against the moonlight.” Inigo shot one of the three men before he could get to Diego with his gun as he snuck up behind him. Then the other two started running for Diego so fast that Inigo had to throw Diego his sword when he got close enough. “In the blink of an eye, he had it in his hand, just in time to confront two furious, deadly blades. He barely made it out alive and in the end he knew two things. First, Don Francisco was one of them and second he got away again. Then while at a play, Captain Alatriste noticed five men were looking at him meanly and coming at him with blades. Captain Alatriste would have to defend himself against five blades when he could barely take on two. You will have to read the book two find out what happens next. All of these exciting moments of pure terror and the fact that it is detail filled makes this a killer story for anybody that likes suspense and action adventure.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 25, 2011

    Bravo! Captain Alatriste is a Spanish equivalent of England's Hornblower!

    Welcome to Spain of the 1600s ... the Inquisition, the Conquistadors, the Hundred Years War, the piracy and poetry, the art, drama, culture and science ... washed down with an adequate dose of swashbuckling and not too much sour wine. Perez-Reverte is a masterful conveyor of the tempo and temper of the times. The adventures of Captain Alatriste and his witness, Inigo, awaken the senses to one of history's most misunderstood periods. Perez-Reverte's Alatriste brings 17th Century Spain to life in the manner that E.M. Forester's Hornblower engages us in the Napoleonic Wars. This series is terrific.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2007

    Captain Alatriste

    Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte is a suspensful novel about a 17th century swordsman, Diego Alatriste, which lives in Madrid, Spain. Alatriste lives in an apartmen above a pub with a teenage boy, Inigo, who loves him like a father. Alatriste has just returned from serving in a battle in the Flemish war.When Alatriste returns he meets with his boss, who is surrounded by masked men, to be assigned to his next mission. He and an Italian assassin are to ambush two travelers entering Spain. Alatriste and the Italian set out on their mission and come to find that these men are no ordinary travelers, but they are in fact the prince of England and his close acquaintance. After Alatriste refuses to kill the prince and his companion, he aggregates many new enemies, including his partner assassin and the masked henchmen of his boss. Alatriste faces many life-threatening situations and encounters many people that want him dead. Experience the many thrilling battles and page-turning book for yourself by reading this suspensful novel by Arturo Perez-Reverte. I would recommend this book to young adults and adults.If you enjoy action-packed, historic novels this is the book for you. The excitement and suspense only gets better as you read deeper into the book. You make think this book starts off slow, but wait until you read the ending.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2007

    Success in Swashbuckling

    Captain Alatriste, written by Arturo Perez-Reverte, is a historically based 'for setting' fictional 'as far as the main characters' novel aimed at those who enjoy the tales of swashbucklers and daring heroes of old who faced seemingly insurmountable odds and dangers in the name of honor. The author intends for the reader to see the glorious days of Spain as it was during the 17th century, and introduce readers to characters and places from Spain¿s past in a way that is accessible and interesting. The novel reaches out to all those who enjoy tales told in the spirit of Dumas and long for adventures set against an age when men lived not just by their words, but their swords as well. It is plain to see and easy to recognize the pride and affection the author holds for his homeland of Spain. Through the story, the narration argues that for the many faults inherent in the great empire and majesty of the Spain of the kings Philip that it was a beautiful country and peopled by a community equally worthy of admiration. The values of chivalrous actions, the dedication to living with honor, and distinguishing one¿s self through being a dignified member in service to one¿s country are highlighted. Courage and the need to follow one¿s instincts in the direction of what is right instead of what is easy is also given emphasis. The author is skillful in his portrayal of these attributes through the hero of the story, as well as those who are his friends and those who become his allies. Our hero, Captain Alatriste and his young ward Inigo are prime examples of individuals living their lives in accordance with these beliefs. Alatriste, despite his position as a mercenary or sword for hire, is still guided by his morals. Both he and the teenage Inigo exemplify courage through the numerous encounters with those who try to kill them. It is also apparent from the disdain of the narrator for those who lack these qualities that such positive attributes are to be emulated and sought after in life instead of those exemplified by villains. The example of the person not to be emulated is personified in the mortal enemy of our hero, a man named Gualterio Malatesta. The villain takes pleasure in menace and murder, while the hero does not fight unless it is necessary. Captain Alatriste is disciplined in conduct and combat, the audience even sees a respectful appreciation for those who Alatriste confronts who exhibit courageous or noble traits. The author succeeds in taking the audience back to a time of honorable heroes who serve more than personal desires for the betterment of society. Captain Alatriste is an enjoyable read filled with all of the things that made swashbuckling tales great through the centuries. The novel covers all of the necessary ingredients for adventure. There is a hero worth cheering for, allies in his times of need, conspiracies of sinister men, numerous swordfights, intrigue, and villains who are deplorable. What else could one ask for in a novel?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Ffast-paced, filled with non stop action

    The invincible Armada has recently lost and Spain is in upheaval from the shocker. Meanwhile former Spanish Captain Diego Alatriste returns home to Madrid because war injuries make the life of a soldier impossible to continue. Still he is a renowned swordsman so the President of the Holy Tribunal of the Inquisition Fray Emilio Bocanegra hires him and an Italian assassin who normally works for the King¿s Secretary Gualterio Malatesta to allegedly frighten two Englishmen who have come to Madrid.................... Gualterio is irate because Diego confronts the two visitors giving them a chance to defend themselves; Gualterio prefers to kill from behind as a frontal fight frightens him. When the two Brits put up a strong defense, Diego, adhering to his mission, prevents Gualterio from killing them. However, by doing so he now has a deadly livid enemy who will patiently wait for the moment to strike him down from behind. Diego assists the English on their mission by keeping them safe, but also finds he is caught in the middle of disputing factions blaming one another for the Armada debacle................... CAPTAIN ALASTRISTE is such a superb seventeenth century swashbuckler that any moment this reviewer expected Errol Flynn to show up. The story line is fast-paced, filled with non stop action, and the fully developed cast provides a deep look at Spain still reeling from the Amada catastrophe. It is that latter element that refreshes the sword swinging tale as readers will appreciate how deep a cut the impact that disaster had on the country and to a lesser degree through the two visitors on England. Arturo Pérez-Reverte writes a strong historical novel..................... Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2010

    Captain Alatriste Book Review

    This book is the story of Captain Alatriste who is a swordsman and bounty hunter in Madrid, Spain in the early 17th century. Captain Alatriste returns from fighting in Flanders and goes back to living above a pub. He takes care of a boy named Inigo, who narrates the story. The captain and his companion are given a task by an unknown man to ambush and rob a couple of travelers. They are told "No blood," which means not to kill them. This makes the captain and his companion think that it will be an easy task. Then the man decides to change plans. He tells them that they have to murder the two travelers and that since they have to do this he will increase the pay in order to get them to kill the travelers. After this the man reveals his identity and his name is Emilio Bocanegra. It is a name that is identical with the Spanish Inquisition and is the bloodiest name in Europe. Emilio's requests cannot be denied or there would be consequences. The following night, with the attack about to happen, it becomes clear to the Captain that they aren't any ordinary travelers. You will have to read the book yourself to discover the twists and turns that occur throughout the book. I didn't really like this book that much. I thought it was kind of boring because I felt that there was a lot of un-needed information. I would recommend this book to anybody that likes mystery books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    the first of a great series

    while being entertained with the stories, I learned so much about Spanish history & literature from the Captain Alatriste series! I wish they'd release the Viggo Mortensen film in the US.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2014

    Alatriste is a sword for hire and he is approached by mysterious

    Alatriste is a sword for hire and he is approached by mysterious powers to attack two travelling englishmen at night as they are approaching the city. The intended victims turn out to be the duke and prince of wales that are on a mission to “seduce Infanta”. He soon finds himself in a dodgy political conspiracy and the only question left seems to be whether he will meet his end in an ambush in a dark alley or by the judge and executioner. 
      Since we known that there is more to this series it is clear to us that he will find a way out of this knotty situation but what most would guess that kept a reader reading is to see how Captain Alatriste would get out of this situation.
     In this book its mostly mysterious and at some points questionable but it is a fairly okay book that I would recommend to people who just enjoy reading   
    by eric murphy sorry i cant figure out the pen name thing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2011

    Captain Alatriste Book Review

    Captian Diego Alatriste is a retired swordsman living in the fifteenth century. He lives in a small, four foom house in Madrid.
    Then one day when he was a spending time at the local tavern with his friends one of his friends told him that an anonymous employer had an assignment for him. That night he left to meet his employer. When he arrived he met three masked men, two are sitting behind a table and one stands next to him. He soon learns that the two men at the table are his employers and the man naxt to him is going to be his partner. He also learns that one of his employers is a member of the spanish inqusition. He also learns that his assignment is to kill two traveling british heritics.
    On the night on the assignment the captain meets his partner in a dark street that they know the englishmen will be taveling. In a matter of seconds the englishmen are knocked from their horses and are disarmed by the captain and his partner. Then one of the englishmen couragously said to the captain,"Mercy for my friend". This makes Alatriste decide to defend the two englishmen and attack his partner saying,"Leave off". Out of shock his parter retreats, and leaves Alatriste alone with the two englishmen.
    Because of Captain Alatriste's decition he has to hide from the inqusition, and his two unknown employers.
    I found this book very interesting because it is told by Captian Alatriste's paige Íñigo.I really enjoyed this book and would recomend it to people ages 13 and older who enjoy historical fiction.

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  • Posted May 18, 2011

    Extremely good book

    Captain Alatriste is the first in a series of books and is an amazing book. It takes place in 17th century madrid and is filled with swordfights, romance, and suspense. its one of my favorite books of all time. its addicting. once you pick it up you wont put it down. If your into reading good books and feeling like your actually in the book, then this book is perfect for you. Its the 8th wonder of the world.

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  • Posted May 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The beginning of a beautiful friendship (I hope)

    I was introduced to Captain Alatriste by a colleague who recommended it very highly as a quick read, totally enjoyable, and addictive. She was right on all counts up to this point. It's a short novel, but the characters are well drawn. The story is relatively simple, yet with twists and turns in the plot. The picture Perez-Reverte draws of Span in the 17th century is both frightening and sometimes disgusting. The Inquisition is in full swing, and wars, both minor and major are everywhere. Europe is in the throes of discovering more of the New World and understanding itself less.

    One shortcoming is bothersome: Why does the hero always have to be someone filled with so much angst and having a tragic past? This sort of hero is everywhere. And if Alatriste is so good with a sword and such an honorable man, why isn't he rich? Or at least in the employ of someone who is? It gets harder to believe that heroes with so much talent live in squalid surroundings, wear torn and dirty clothing, yet have so many loyal -- and rich or well placed -- friends. Still, the stories are interesting, the narrator filled with hero worship, and the reader gets a view of Spain not usually shown in history books.

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  • Posted April 29, 2009


    Captain Alatriste by Arturo Reverte Perez is a riveting swashbuckling tale set in 17th century Spain of a washed up military man who, now that he was wounded and discharged from the army, makes a living supporting himself and the son, Íñigo, of one of his best friends who died in the war, by acting as a hired sword. His highly developed sword fighting skills he learned in the war are the only help his valiant military career has provided. As a hired sword he natural partakes in some excursions of rather dubious natures and will often find himself in jail for as long if not for longer then he is a free man. So when he was hired in addition to a shady Italian to scare a couple of British travelers and steal their documents he thought nothing of it. However, after his primary employer leaves a religious figure of high status with known connections to the inquisition, Fray Emilio Bocanegra, enters the room and informs the two that they are to assassinate rather then merely scare the heathenish bastards. This concerns the Captain who would like to preserve the last shreds of self respect he has for himself since he had little else. During the attack he has a change of heart when the target he picked to kill was pleading for mercy for not himself but his traveling companion right as Alatriste was about to run him through. This made the Captain think deeper as to why he was sent to kill these two seemingly insignificant men and prevents the Italian from finishing off the second of the two intended targets. This one deed sets the action rolling in the book by creating many powerful enemies for himself and some even more powerful friends. Captain Alatriste is a captivating tale of the swashbucklers of 17th century Spain and I would recommend it to anyone who loves dynamic plots complemented by spellbinding fight scenes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2007

    A reviewer

    Captain Alatriste by Arturo Pérez-Reverte was an outstanding novel for all ages. Arturo Pérez-Reverte did a remarkable job on this 248 page book. It was an action packed novel full of swordplay and heroism, but mostly of a man trying to survive in the harsh conditions of 17th century Spain. The book takes place in 17th century Spain during the Flemish wars over the Netherlands. Gold is coming from the Americas to Spain but is being spent on goods from other country making Spain have a decreasing economy. In the book Diego Alatriste, the protagonist is a Spanish soldier on leave from the Flemish Wars because of an injury suffered. To survive he hires his sword skills to who ever will pay. One day a friend of Alatriste comes to him with a job he can do. The Captain later finds out that if he carries out this job then there will be a new war on the horizon. One of the things I enjoyed best about this book was how Arturo brought up so much history that was going on during 17-century Spain. Another thing that I enjoyed is how he also tied in Alatriste into all the history as though he was actually there and that he did all the stuff he did. Overall I found this book to be a breathtaking novel. I would recommend this book to all ages and especially people who enjoy history because of it many ties into history but if you like action books then you will also enjoy the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2006

    Slow start Great finish

    Captain Alatriste is By Arturo Perez Reverte and published by Penguin Publishingin 2006. Capatain Alatriste is about a Spanish swordsman in the seventeenth Century from Madrid. One day Capatian Alatriste is told to go to a house where two men will be waiting to give him a task. When he gets to the house there are two masked men waiting for him. They tell Captain Alatriste and his partner that there will be two men on horseback riding to the house of seven chimneys. They order Alatriste and his partner to kill both men and to steal all of their belongings. No later than midnight that night the two riders come down a cobblestone path towards Alatriste and his partner. Alatriste and his partner jump from the bushes they were hiding in and attack the two men. Alatriste is surprised at their fighting ability. The man Alatriste is fighting begs for Alatriste and his partner not to kill them and just to leave them with a few wounds. Alatriste¿s partner tries to kill his man but Alatriste stops him. Because the two men did not kill the men on horseback they get into a great deal of trouble. I was kind of disappointed because when I first picked up the book I thought the book would be filled with action. As I got farther and farther into the story I realized that there wasn¿t a lot of action until the last few chapters of the book. All in all I thought it was a good book . There were a few dull parts here and there but I think Reverte made up for it in the end. The Lifestyle in Alatriste¿s time is much different from now. This book takes place during a time where people had to fight for their lives on street corners everyday. People also worked as murderers just to survive in life. Alatriste has many struggles in this book. Because he did not kill the two men the masked men are furious. The masked men set out to find and kill Alatriste. Alatriste also struggled to survive in this story. He didn¿t have a real job. He did tasks given to him by people he had never even seen before just for a little money. In the seventeenth century, economy was difficult. Their weren¿t many wealthy people except for royal families and noblemen. There wasn¿t much of a middle class. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes to read. It was a very good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2006

    cling clang slash!

    For anyone who loves a good adventure, this is the book for you! It is more intelligently written than most of the who-dunnits you find on the mystery shelves. Reverte writes with a very subtle and dry humor that accents his hero, Alatriste, perfectly. The more humorous sidekick, don Francisco de Quevodo, emerges more en force in the sequel, 'Purity of Blood'. His catch phrase is an adequate tagline for the series: 'We have no choice but to fight!' My final reason for anyone to read this wonderful epic, another line from Mr. Reverte himself: 'without adventures, we would never know our heroes'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2006

    Great new series

    I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Very exciting and surprisingly funny at times. The Captain is not always a good man - he does kill for a living after all, but he has a code of honor that often sets him at odds with those who would try to violate that code. While he is certainly moody and somewhat morose , he can also be caring and affectionate to those he considers friends (such as his ward Inigo). His friend ,Don Francisco de Quevedo (poet, womanizer, swordsman) has an irreverant and viciously funny wit which made me laugh out loud when reading his sonnets. His character provided balance to Alatriste's more somber nature and in fact proves to be a pivotal one in the story in terms of the final outcome. Absolutely worth the read , very entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2006

    Great Read!

    This book is a very fun and interesting read. The book is very fast paced until about three fourths of the way through. The action was non stop and then it got a little dull, but after a few pages the book continues to be a great read with a good ending. It is a great way to begin what will be a series of five books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2005

    Slow Start for a Trilogy?

    Every book by Perez-Reverte has been a treat full of action and historical detail that delights and amuses, until this one. The story is about an aging survivor of the Spanish wars in Flanders who returns to Spain, a bankrupt kingdom, about 1620. He is hired as a swardsman by shadowy figures to harm (maybe kill) some suspicious visitors to Madrid. But guess what? Turns out the visitors are the egregious Duke of Buckingham and his protege, Charles, Prince of Wales. Their mission is to win an Infanta of Spain for Charles. In real life, the Spanish court were horrified at such a goofy approach to a princess of Spain, and also at the possibility of a Protestant marriage. But Perez-Reverte never identifies his secretive visitors, and focusses on the problem of the asassins arguing among themselves. The dramatic impact of this book is that of a first act. Only this time, there is not enough substance to make the reader come back for the second act. There is such brilliance in the other Perez-Reverte books, all of which I recommend heartily, that I hate writing this review. I waited two months after reading Captain Alatriste to write about it, and now do so only hoping that the author, his agent or publisher will wake up before bringing out a second instalment as thin as this one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2005



    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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