Synopses & Reviews
The first in a magnificent series of historical novels from the acclaimed, bestselling author of The Club Dumas
and The Queen of the South
Captain Alatriste is the story of a fictional seventeenth-century Spanish soldier who, after being wounded in battle during the Thirty Years' War, is forced to retire from the army. Now he lives the comparatively tame though hardly quiet life of a swordsman-for-hire in Madrid. Approached with an offer of work, Alatriste is told to go with another hired blade to an unfamiliar part of the city at midnight and wait. They are received by men who explain that they want Alatriste and his companion to ambush two travelers the following evening, stage a robbery, and give the men a fright. "No blood," they are told.
But then a third figure enters the room. He says the job requires some clarification: he increases the pay, and tells them that, instead, they must murder the two travelers. Then he reveals his identity: Emilio Bocanegra. It is a name synonymous with the Spanish Inquisition, the bloodiest name in Europe. This is a man whose requests cannot be denied.
But the following night, with the attack imminent, it becomes clear to Alatriste that these aren't ordinary travelers. And what happens next is only the first in a series of riveting twists and turns, with implications that will reverberate throughout the courts of Europe.
For anyone who loves the work of Arturo Pérez-Reverte and those who have not yet discovered the delights of this extraordinary writer Captain Alatriste is one of the most stylish, singular pleasures to come along in years.
"International bestseller Prez-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)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"From first word to last, this novel, sure to be a hit in this country as well, fairly drips adventure off every page." Booklist
"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." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"[I]ntroduces a charismatic, complicated leading man who surrounds himself with equally volatile types, both fictional and historical....The clash and dash are thrilling; the swordplay is a bonus. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly
"How our brave and weary captain, kind of a spiritual forefather of the noble gumshoe celebrated in the noir thrillers of Hammett and Chandler, navigates such choppy moral seas is the fascination of this deceptively complex, captivating book." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Pérez-Reverte's pacing is swift and suspenseful....The tale is a feast of dark historical detail and believable danger....Captain Alatriste serves up the goods and whets the appetite for the rest of the five-book series to come." Denver Post
"Though there is plenty of action and intrigue in Pérez-Reverte's novel, it's more than just a swashbuckler. One reads on in large part because the scenes are so vividly no, lovingly portrayed." Philadelphia Inquirer
"Pérez-Reverte is a master of the thriller....Though Pérez-Reverte weaves in a few cliffhangers and fills the swashbuckling story with nonstop action, Captain Alatriste is also a contemplation of life and death, which adds depth to the good, unclean fun." Miami Herald
A fictional 17th-century Spanish swordsman's instruction to frighten two travelers becomes a murder-for-hire arranged by Emilio Bocanegra, the name synonymous with the Spanish Inquisition. What happens next is only the first in a series of riveting twists and turns, with implications that will reverberate throughout the courts of Europe.
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.
About the Author
Arturo Pérez-Reverte lives in Madrid, Spain. Originally a war correspondent, he now writes fiction full-time. His five books, The Flanders Panel, The Club Dumas, The Fencing Master, The Seville Communion, and The Nautical Chart, have been translated into nineteen languages in thirty countries and have sold millions of copies. In 2002, he was elected to the Spanish Royal Academy.