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Posted February 2, 2010
El Capitán Alatriste by Arturo Pérez-Reverete
Diego Alatriste y Tendrio, known as Captain Alatriste is a veteran of the Spanish wars with the Dutch in the 1620's. The story is told by his page, Íñigo Balboa-who's father, Lope Balboa fought alongside Captain Alatriste in the Dutch wars and died there.
Íñigo is a lad of 13 when he joins the Captain, who has just come out of jail for petty crimes. The Captain receives an offer by two masked men and the Dominican Father Emilio Bocanegra, the main inquisitor of the Church, to kill two strangers who are traveling incognito to Madrid. Alatriste is to be assisted by an Italian by the name of Gualterio Malatesta.
The ambush takes place but something is not right-according to Captain Alatriste-and he changes sides when the older of the two victims asks mercy for the youngest of the two. Alatriste saves them both and takes them a nearby castle, owned by Álvaro Luis Gonzaga de la Marca and Álvarez de Sidonia, count of Guadalmedina-a good and loyal friend of the Captain.
Álvaro identifies the two victims as Jorge Villiers, count of Buckingham, and Charles of Wales, son of the British king Jacob 1st-ist in line to inherit the British crown. These two gentlemen were on a secret mission to try to woe the daughter of the Spanish king, Phillip IV, María.
Don Álvaro escorts the two British dignitaries to the British embassy-The House of the Seven Chimneys. The two British dignitaries feel they have been saved by the Captain and once they are announced to be in Madrid, they are safe and no harm can be done to them-unless Spain wishes a war with Britain. A war Spain can't afford since it is still battling the Dutch.
Obviously this create a lot of enemies for the Captain and his page and the rest of the book is their adventures evading the ire of the political drama in the Spanish court.
The book is a fun short read (217 pages) filled with local customs of the period and also filled with poetry and literature of the epoch. Lope de Vega, Francisco Quevedo, and Pedro Calderón de la Barca are constantly quoted and appear in the plot.
If you like thrill, adventure, and a good epoch book from the XVIIth century, this is a book for you. There are a total of six books involving the adventures of Captain Alatriste.
Posted April 10, 2004
A splendid novel placed in the political Spanish decadence of the XVIIth century, but not in the cultural decadence; on the contrary it was the Golden age for the Spanish literature and for the Spanish painting as well. European culture owes so much to this period than is recognized by French and English chauvinism. I you want to experience one of the greatest era of the world's literature in one of the greatest empire, this is your novel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 12, 2003
The book is simply superb. I'm spanish, and I'm afraid that maybe (and I remark "maybe"), someone from another country will find it spanish-biased, but it's superb. Another thing. The book is not ambiented in the 1700's; it's ambiented in the 1600's (as it is stated clearly in the book). If it had been ambiented in 1700's, then it would be historically wrong, as since 1635 the Spanish prominence was falling and falling and falling...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 15, 2002
This novel is the beginning of the adventures of Capitan Alatriste, a man of his time, the Spanish Siglo de Oro (Golden Century) and tell us about the time where Spain ruled the world, an era of greatness in literature and painting but also of misery in almost everything else. I enjoyed this novel very much and have read it again many times, as the Capitan Alatriste deals with adversity with only one goal: surviving.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 10, 2000
This is not just a great story superbly told, but you can also take a glimpse at life as it was in 1700's Spain (and the world for that matter). Very exciting and easy to read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 2, 2000
capitan alatriste is an outstanding adventure book about the decaying spain in the 1700. im spanish and i was terrible excited when i was reading it, discovering aspects of my country that i never thought i would read. i also enjoyed the wonderful adventure story, that, even that i normally dont read adventure stories, completly catch me during the whole book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 22, 2013
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