Read Captain Alatriste by Arturo Pérez-Reverte Margaret Sayers Peden Online


"It is the height of Spain's celebrated golden century - but beyond the walls of the Royal Palace there is little on the streets of Madrid that glitters. The Invincible Armada has been defeated. The shadow of the Inquisition looms large. And the Thirty Years' War rages on in Flanders. When a courageous soldier of this war, Captain Diego Alatriste, is forced to retire after"It is the height of Spain's celebrated golden century - but beyond the walls of the Royal Palace there is little on the streets of Madrid that glitters. The Invincible Armada has been defeated. The shadow of the Inquisition looms large. And the Thirty Years' War rages on in Flanders. When a courageous soldier of this war, Captain Diego Alatriste, is forced to retire after being wounded in battle, he returns home to live the comparatively tame - though hardly quiet - life of a swordsman-for-hire. In this dangerous city where a thrust of steel settles all matters, there is no stronger blade than Alatriste's." The captain is approached with an offer of work that involves giving a scare to some strangers soon to arrive in Madrid. But on the night of the attack, it becomes clear that these aren't ordinary travelers - and that someone is out for their blood. What happens next is the first in a series of riveting twists, with implications that will reverberate throughout the courts of Europe"No era el hombre más honesto ni el más piadoso, pero era un hombre valiente"... Con estas palabras empieza El capitán Alatriste, la historia de un soldado veterano de los tercios de Flandes que malvive como espadachín a sueldo en el Madrid del siglo XVII. Sus aventuras peligrosas y apasionantes nos sumergen sin aliento en las intrigas de la Corte de una España corrupta y en decadencia, las emboscadas en callejones oscuros entre el brillo de dos aceros, las tabernas donde Francisco de Quevedo compone sonetos entre pendencias y botellas de vino, o los corrales de comedias donde las representaciones de Lope de Vega terminan a cuchilladas. Todo ello de la mano de personajes entrañables o fascinantes: el joven Íñigo Balboa, el implacable inquisidor fray Emilio Bocanegra, el peligroso asesino Gualterio Malatesta, o el diabólico secretario del rey, Luis de Alquézar. Acción, historia y aventura se dan cita en estas páginas inolvidables....

Title : Captain Alatriste
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780452287112
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 253 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Captain Alatriste Reviews

  • Fabian
    2019-05-22 14:39

    You're in Madrid. But the adventure here seems like a half adventure. Indeed, has a minor climax & is like very sustained though brisk foreplay. It's too short to be miraculous, though it will inevitably leave you wanting more! (Great Literary Hook!)

  • Mario Espinosa
    2019-05-04 10:22

    No sé si fue por mi condición de madrileño, o porque me gusta la historia, o porque fui afortunado y estudie en aquel Plan educativo que se llamaba EGB, con el que terminabas aprendiendo un montón de cosas (en este caso de nuestro Siglo de Oro), o porque me encanta cómo escribe Pérez Reverte, o porque una historia donde los secundarios son Quevedo o el conde-duque de Olivares recuerda a las novelas de aventuras de Alejandro Dumas, o porque la accion sucede por las calles que tan bien conozco... No sé la razón, pero este es el único libro que me he leído dos veces. La primera un año o dos después de que se publicara y la segunda tras ir al cine a ver su horrible versión cinematográica (que una serie posterior ha hecho buena). El mal sabor de boca que me dejó la película se quitó rápidamente tras la segunda lectura. Creo sinceramente que si de niño, en el colegio, me hubieran dado a leer cosas como estas en vez de los dramas de Galdós que me obligaron a leer (buenísimo Galdos, pero no para un niño) mi infancia habría sido mucho más feliz. ¿Para cuándo el séptimo Alatriste?

  • Algernon
    2019-05-09 09:47

    Short and elegant : a worthy addition to the panoply of memorable swashbucklers and a promising start of a long historical epic. The plot is simple, and the action scenes relatively few. The strong points are the recreation of the Madrid society around 1620 and the evocative language. The story alternates between first person narration by the young page Inigo Balboa and third person view. I wish I was fluent in Spanish and could read this in the original , especially the poems. Captain Diego Alatriste y Tenorio is set apart from the likes of D'Artagnan, Zorro or Pardaillan by the fact that he is a lot less talkative, has a passion for books and for the verses of Lope de Vega or Quevedo, doesn't claim the moral superiority of the pure knight on a white horse. If he can win a fight through a dirty trick, so be it:"He was not the most honest or pious of men, but he was courageous"

  • Bruce
    2019-04-24 11:46

    Published in 1996, this is the first of a series of novels by Pérez-Reverte, novels set in 17th century Spain and featuring the fictional Captain Diego Alatriste y Tenorio. Iñigo, his squire, narrates the action from his perspective as an old man, although some of the narrative is in the third person. Alatriste is not really a Captain, this title having been taken by him during a brief battle in Flanders when his commanding officer was slain. But he keeps the title in peacetime, during which he lives as a “sword-for-hire” in Madrid. The flavor of this novel is reminiscent of Dumas’s D’Artagnan adventures. Alatriste finds himself down and out, sometimes in debtors’ prison, oftener living in straitened circumstances, when he is approached by a former army mate who has had better fortune and is employed as a constable. His friend offers him lucrative and more permanent employment of his sword and services but is vague about what that employment it. But it seems a step up, turning out to be a clandestine assignment to ambush two people at the behest of the Head of the Spanish Inquisition. Alatriste is every cagey, alert to nuances in speech and posture, and it is fascinating to observe how Pérez-Reverte develops and rounds out his character even as his story paints a convincing picture of the Spain of the time. It was a time of intermittent war on the continent, times of fighting interspersed with unemployment for the countless soldiers who returned home to no jobs, no prospects, leaving them available only for mischief or hired skullduggery. The author effectively alternates chapters describing Alatriste’s social environment and the details of the more central action. Finally, the ambush of two Englishmen by Alatriste and an Italian companion takes place, the instructions having been to kill the two. When, however, Alatriste realizes that the victims are aristocrats and gentlemen to boot, he spares their lives, to the disgust and derision of his companion who rushes off into the darkness. This, of course, creates a dilemma: Alatriste is now with the two intended victims who inquire who he is and who set him upon them, and he is also aware that his companion will tell the true instigators that Alatriste has let the Englishmen live, putting Alatriste’s own life in danger. Responding to their pleas for further help, he takes them to the home of his friend, Count de Guadalmedina, close to the King and powerful in court. The Englishmen turn out to be the Duke of Buckingham and Charles, Prince of Wales, son of the reigning King John, who have entered Spain surreptitiously to seek the hand of the Princess in marriage to Charles. The plot continues.The language used in this novel is full of slang and colloquialisms, requiring use of a Spanish dictionary and also a translator app on my iPhone. Yet I did not struggle excessively. Candidly, however, my mastery of Spanish is as yet too rudimentary for me to be able to comment on the literary quality of the writing. But it was certainly entertaining.I found the book of interest on several levels. It is an engaging yarn in and off itself. It also portrays a place and period in history about which I have had little knowledge. I also found the author to be perceptive to psychological issues, effectively presenting his main characters as people wrestling with quotidian concerns as well as existential issues. I would be receptive to reading more books in this series.

  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    2019-05-03 16:50

    Captain Alatriste, a romantic soldier of fortune of Hapsburg Spain, is the protagonist of this series by Perez-Revertez. Just his luck to get embroiled in a dynasty scheme. Reminds me of the Three Musketeers a bit. Also, truly book one of a series. This sets the stage

  • Liviu
    2019-05-21 17:26

    added may 2016 - after visiting Spain (Andalusia - Granada, Seville, Cordoba and a few other places and Madrid) and being impressed much more than I expected (probably due to the fact that in most of my childhood and even later books, the Spanish were generally the villains as those books were either English or French, but overall after visiting the three main Latin countries, Italy, France and Spain, i think I liked Spain the most overall), have to reread this as maybe now it will tell me moreafter reading about half, I can say that visting the places where the novel takes place and imaging the atmosphere helps a lot, so this will become a much better read for meoriginal review 2009 I never could read a Perez-Reverte book end to end and I tried 4 or 5 so far - somehow they are too flat, they promise a lot but do not deliver. Finally I forced myself to finish Alatriste 1 and it was ok, something to read if I have nothing else, but not something exciting so I decided to put the author on the avoid for now list

  • Kelly
    2019-05-09 13:35

    Swashbuckling. Seriously. That's all this book is about. If that's not enough of a point for you? Well. You just don't know how to have fun.

  • Clif Hostetler
    2019-05-22 14:21

    The story in this novel takes place in the 17th Century Spain during the reign of Philip IV, the golden age of Spanish power. The plot is based upon an actual historic occurrence in 1623 when the Prince of Wales (Charles Stuart) and George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, traveled incognito to Spain to try to reach agreement on the long-pending match between Charles and Infanta Maria Anna of Spain, the younger sister of King Philip IV. The fictional action of this book starts with its main character, Alatriste, being paid to kill a pair of unknown English visitors in Madrid who turn out to be the Prince and Villiers traveling incognito. Life becomes quite complicated for Alatriste when at the last minute he decides not to kill the two strangers, and suddenly the plotters of the scheme have every reason to want Alatriste dead because he knows about their conspiracy.The characters in this story remind me of Dumas' Three Musketeers, but the book, Captain Alatriste, is much shorter and concise in its construction. The story takes place at about the same time as Dumas' novel, but of course Alatriste is Spanish and the Dumas characters were French. These characters are quite frankly not the sort of people I would want to be near in real life. They are professional soldiers waiting for the next war. In the meantime they have nothing better to do other than sit around in taverns waiting for the next excuse to fight a duel.This novel is told in first person from the perspective of an old man recalling the story as it happened in his youth. He is thus able to offer some perspective and judgment based on the experience of the subsequent years. Here is a sample of how the golden age of Spain is described in the book: "And that infamous period was called the Siglo de Oro? What Golden Age, eh? The truth is that those of us who lived and suffered through it saw little gold and barely enough silver. Sterile sacrifice, glorious defeats, corruption, rogues, misery, and shame, that we had up to the eyebrows." ... "and no one worked except the wretched peasants, exploited by the tax collectors ..."The narration paints a vivid and gritty picture of that time in history. Details from body lice to excrement in the streets are quite jarring to a 21st Century reader. The mechanics of killing, and being killed, with a sword are presumably accurate, but I'd just as soon not have to read about it. The author spends a lot of time describing 17th Century Madrid and quoting sonnets from the period. By the time the novel is finished you will learn about the king's favored adviser, Olivares (Gaspar de Guzmán y Acevedo, 1st Count-Duke of Olivares, 1587-1645). According to the author he was an evil person. Historians have often blamed him for the demise of the Spanish power. However, modern historians generally believe he was simply following the King's wishes, and the prevailing corruption of the time was not something for which he can be blamed.We also meet another "bad guy" in the person of the king's secretary Luis de Alquézar, and his entrancing niece Angélica de Alquézar (c.1611–c.1640). It's hinted in the book that we'll be hearing more about Angélica and her uncle in upcoming books in the series. We know that Angélica is a historical character because she was portrayed by Diego Velázquez in 1635. I presume her uncle is a historical character also, but I'm unable to confirm that. I wish the author had included a note commenting on which of the characters are historical personages. I selected this book to check out whether I wanted to pursue the rest of the series. The books are translated from Spanish. The following is a list of the books in the series and the year published in USA: 1. Captain Alatriste, USA 20052. Purity of Blood, USA 20063. The Sun over Breda, USA 20074. The King's Gold, USA 20085. The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet, USA 20096. Pirates of the Levant, USA 2010A movie based on the series, titled Alatriste, was released in September 1, 2006, directed by Agustín Díaz Yanes and starring Viggo Mortensen. (The DVD is not yet released for North America.)The series of books started when the author, Pérez-Reverte, decided that there was a lack of history of the Spanish Golden Age in the school textbook of his teenaged daughter Carlota. He commissioned Carlota to gather documentation for him (hence, she is billed as co-author of the first novel) and developed the stories. Pérez-Reverte is influenced by the works of many novelists, in particular 19th-century writers like Alexandre Dumas, and his D'Artagnan Romances. He also applies the dark tone of his experiences as a war reporter.The period settings allows him to insert references to the authors (including Lope de Vega and Cervantes) and artists (including Diego Velázquez). He reflects on Spain and the Spaniards as a people united that, in spite of being at war with all the major European powers, are capable of showing bravery and honor.

  • Campbell
    2019-04-23 13:45

    Another one I need to re-read sooner rather than later.

  • Evan
    2019-05-12 13:24

    Okay, so I'm teaching the second in a three course sequence on world theatre history, and we've just been covering Spanish Siglo de Oro theatre (Lope de Vega, Calderon de la Barca, Tirso de Molina, etc.). So I was searching around on you-tube for some good recreation footage of a performance in a corral de comedias, and stumbled across a 2006 film called Alatriste with a very charming scene set in such a theatre. (At a certain point, I got a strange inkling of Aragorn rather than Aragon-- sure enough, Viggo plays the starring role). Anyhow, I soon learned that this film was based on this popular series of novels, all set in 1620s Spain. I picked up a copy last Friday, and finished it this last Monday. As one might surmise from the fact that my last post to Goodreads commemorating my finishing volume 1 of a massive literary novel (after about 2 years), I have found popular fiction a refreshing change of pace. In fact, there's not much I can say about this novel that wouldn't be a spoiler. Except the insider's fact that the novel follows the plot conventions of a Siglo de Oro "capa y espada" (cape and sword) play, and contains various nice bits of period poetry by the likes of Lope and Calderon (and a few apparently by the author as well). Nice swashbuckling entertainment, though not, I hear, as good as some of the author's earlier works that have nothing to do with Alatriste.

  • Greg
    2019-04-30 09:51

    I've just finished Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo" and was curious as to how a modern writer would treat this kind of story. I've read two works by Arturo Perez-Reverte ("The Flanders Panel" and "The Fencing Master" and enjoyed both) and in fact the subject of "fencing", as related in "Monte Cristo/Alatriste" with duels, etc., led me directly to "Captain Alatriste." I believe this book is the first of at least five more in this series, and it serves a prologue to the rest of the story: here we have a bit of Alatriste's background, we have mysterious men in mask, we have political intrigue, we have questionable identities. In fact, we have many elements similar to the opening elements of "Monte Cristo". So, today, authors would give us a series of books: if Dumas were publishing today, he would no doubt have given us at lease five volumes of "The Count of Monte Cristo." Times change! And after all, there is far more money to be made in five volumes than just one! Capitalism at its finest. And so far, Alatriste Volume 1 is good enough to keep going!

  • Peter
    2019-05-13 12:41

    6/7 - 6/8First off, I can't remember the last time I started and finished a book in one day. Yeesh. Not a lot going on today I guess.Anyway, I have read and enjoyed several of Perez-Reverte's books and have been looking forward to this series. I was not blown away. The characters were were pretty plain, and I really didn't like the narrator at all; the classic 'I'm old now and I'm gonna tell you some stories from a long time ago' type guy. Also, The profanity he uses throughout the book doesn't work to get you to believe in the characters... it seems completely gratuitous and out of place.I would give this only two stars, bbbuuutttt... it is a translation from the original Spanish, and I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume the translation was flawed... I have read several of his other books and enjoyed them enough, so at least some of the blame goes on the translator (I just looked at three of his books here off the cuff and they all have different translators).

  • Darren
    2019-05-11 15:24

    I read this last year and just could not--at all--get into it. Put it down and left it there for about a year. I read it again this year and could not say what I found so disagreeable the last time around. Were there issues with the translation? That is unfortunate and all too common for foreign language works. Even this site doesn't list the translator, because I think most people don't realize what an artform translation is. So I did some checking, and Margaret Sayers Peden is highly acclaimed in her field. And except for some of the poetry, I found the writing solid and beautiful, without the need to be overly literal that you see in some (poor) translations. Frankly, I do not know enough about Spanish poetry of the period to accurately judge the verses I disliked. Only enough to see that there were differences. The book is not a companion to the Three Musketeers, and yet it is. Of that era and a larger part of that world. Here we see Buckingham visiting Spain under cloak of darkness, and Richelieu's gold hunting him and his companion. And yet he is hunted not for France's reasons, but for Spain's. The book is a love song to Spain, in its Golden Century. At the height of its power and rotting from within. The king not weak but not kingly either; a bravo rather than a ruler, his realm in the hands of his favourite advisor de Olivares, and the High Inquisitor, Frey Emilio Bocanegra. The two of these together, though enemies, serve as the Richelieu analog, and like Richelieu at least Olivares was a genuine historical figure.There were so many characters I assumed invented for the text, so perfect in their ridiculousness; Don Francisco de Quevedo, that heckler of hunchbacks, that duellist in pince-nez, with his gold spurs and his rebellious politics. And yet he was a real poet of the era, his duels a matter of history, as were his golden spurs. The problem I had with this story is that our protagonist, our eponymous hero, Diego Alatriste, is more of a plot agent at the whims of history than a character with his own ambitions. I do not mean to imply that he is thinly written. He is not. He has his code of honour, and his likes are Spain's likes. The poetry and plays of Lope. The paintings of Velazquez before he had taken that name. But things only seem to happen to him, rather than by his design. I wanted to see him solving more of his problems, rather than just weathering them. But in this Reverte may be showing his hand. This is a romance, as Dumas's D'Artagnan stories were, but Reverte does not share Dumas's idealism, nor his optimism. Nor mine. I am looking forward to book two.

  • Windy Pineda
    2019-05-03 13:38

    Concuerdo con las otras reseñas que he leído sobre este libro. Arturo Pérez Reverte tiene talento para escribir; su forma de narrar es entretenida y dan ganas de seguir leyendo la historia. Ahora, con el perdón de todos, debo decir que la historia es en exceso básica y aparte del bueno uso del recurso narrativo, la trama queda en nada. En especial, hay cuatro puntos que me parecieron tan débiles, que me convencieron para darle la puntuación de dos estrellas y, por lo demás, no seguir leyendo las continuaciones:1. Intenta copiar el estilo de Alejandro Dumas, y lo hace bastante mal. Debo reconocer que su forma de aproximarse al Madrid del antiguo régimen es bastante similar a la de los Tres Mosqueteros, pero queda muy lejos de la maestría y el enganche que Dumas logra. No te dan ganas de seguir ahondando en los personajes y uno queda con una bonita imagen de la vida urbana, pero nada más.2. Los personajes son planos, y -como ya decía-, la trama es excesivamente básica, donde el conflicto es más una anécdota que una aventura. Un encontrón con un par de personajes importantes y eso sería todo. Como si fuera una receta, el autor le pone un poco de espadas, capas y un par de personajes históricos y se dio por satisfecho. 3. Malatesta y Alquézar intentan ser adversarios (o archienemigos, si se quere) que hacen guiños a Rochefort y Milady. Ninguna de los dos me convenció, por lo poco creíble de sus motivaciones en odiar al capitán Alatriste.4. (Y perdónenme, pero aquí hablo con el corazón y no con la razón) Alastriste es una MALÍSIMA copia de Athos, de los Tres Mosqueteros. Esa actitud de "encogerse de hombros", ser medio taciturno, reflexivo y tener escrúpulos me pareció un reflejo muy pobre de la figura trágica de Athos, quien por su origen e historia de vida, tiene razones de sobra para comportarse como lo hace. Y creo que eso fue, por decirlo de cierta forma, la gota que rebalsó en vaso con este libro (al menos para mí). No me creí el cuento de Diego Alatriste. Eso de toparse con las figuras más relevantes de la historia española del Siglo de Oro (y de otro país, que no voy a spoilear), a pesar de ser un oscuro soldado me pareció absurda por lo forzoso. Su moral, desapego a la vida y aquellas maneras de demostrar afecto tampoco me convencieron.En resumen, una mala (y bien mala) copia de los Tres Mosqueteros. Como dije, me quedo con algunas citas que de verdad me hicieron disfrutar y recordar que el idioma español es un lenguaje rico y lleno de tradición.

  • Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
    2019-05-21 17:30

    It is interesting how we come to read certain books - we like the cover, the bumf on the back sounds interesting, people are talking about it... In this case I saw the film - "The Spanish Musketeer". I thought the film was brilliant with one or two moments (especially the battle of Rocroi) which were an epiphany for me. I looked up Arturo Pérez-Reverte and became interested in the fact that he had decided to write the Captain Alatriste series because he was disgusted at the poor level of knowledge of Spanish History, especially of the "Golden Era" that Spanish youth had; it was his equivalent of Dumas (or Sienkiewicz... or the Flashman series). I was hooked - I had to read the first in the series.I realised that my reading experience would be very different to the film (it is, I feel, obvious when you watch it that it is a "compilation" of all the books), and part of me initially said I wish I hadn't watched the film, but that feeling soon passed away as I became involved in this very well written story.Perez-Reverte is a very good writer. The story is written in a very casual manner, as though you are sat with the narrator, in a bar, as he chats about this character, Alatriste. The book sucks you in in a very relaxed way and before you know it you want to know what happens next. The storyline is simple but the plot is complicated and the society that Perez-Reverte depicts is verging on the psychotic. Murder and assassination seem to be everyday and a man has to be able to handle a sword whether he's a soldier home from the wars in Flanders or a poet. Like Dumas and co, Perez-Reverte's story is based on historical facts that can be researched and validated separately. "Captain Alatriste" is a simple introduction to his character - quiet, thoughtful, slightly scurrilous, loyal yet no flunky - and to the world he lives in. He becomes pulled into a political and religious intrigue and partly extricates himself as a result of his quick wits... as if that were all there were to it...I thoroughly recommend this book to lovers of Historical Fiction and shall certainly be reading the rest of the series over the months to come.

  • Ensiform
    2019-04-22 12:50

    Translated by Margaret Peden. Set in the 1620s, this historical novel centers on the titular soldier, a melancholy man wounded in Flanders and now haunting Madrid as a sword for hire. Hired by two masked men, who are clearly powerful officials, with the backing of a much-feared Inquisitor, Alatriste is charged with killing two English travelers. Sensing something wrong, he lets them live, only to find out later it is the Duke of Buckingham and Prince Charles, attempting to secure the prince’s wedding to the Spanish infanta. This act of mercy puts Alatriste on many powerful people’s black lists, but he stays in Madrid, fatalistically waiting for whatever will befall.This is an exquisitely realized novel, absolutely entertaining and very skillfully written. There’s little of the brutish, formulaic pabulum of the Sharpe novels here – Alatriste is no superman, and relies as much on luck and craft as his skill to live. This book is also at least as much about the Golden Age of Spain than about any one man: Francisco de Quevedo is Alatriste’s friend, and luminaries such as Lope de Vega and Diego Velasquez are mentioned frequently. Perez-Reverte’s narrator (a youth named Inigo, Alatriste’s de facto ward) ruminates on the state of 17th century Spain with all its corruption and dangers, on the festivities and attitudes of the time, on courage and honor, on what sort of man lived by the sword in those times. In short, there is as much historical as there is novel in this book, and both parts are equally enjoyable.

  • Jessie
    2019-04-24 16:32

    I am a big fan of Arturo Perez-Reverte, but this book was a little bit of a disappoint me for me. As usual, Perez-Reverte's writing style manages to mingle in an amazing amount of fascinating history within an otherwise simple plot. The problem this time was too much history and exposition and too little actual plot. I could tell you the whole "story" in about four sentences. The narrator in the story is recounting tales from his youth - so it's a little like listening to my grandmother ramble on. He starts with the story, but then gets side-tracked to explain the history of Spain or the people in the story to set the scene for how they've all arrived at this point in the tale. Then we're back to the story briefly, before we go forward in time a little to hear about what happens to the narrator or other characters later in their lives OR what happens to the culture of Spain itself. Then back to the story for a second. Forward, backwards, "now," over and over again. It made it a little difficult to follow.I will say though that I'm now halfway through the second book in this series and it is MUCH better. And perhaps the Captain Alatriste had to be more exposition than story just to set the stage for the rest of the series?!?So I guess I recommend the series and therefore it's worth the 3 or 4 hour read of Captain Alatriste to get started.

  • Angela Bernabeu
    2019-05-22 15:46

    "Para que vean vuestras mercedes lo que son las cosas, y lo que somos España y los españoles, y cómo aquí se abusó siempre de nuestras buenas gentes, y lo fácil que es ganarlas por su impulso generoso, empujándonos al abismo por maldad o por incompetencia, cuando siempre merecimos mejor suerte." Una labor de documentación acerca del Siglo de Oro español indescriptible. Pérez-Reverte es un mago de las palabras.

  • Dirk Grobbelaar
    2019-05-23 15:21

    This wasn't bad. The problem is, once you've read the likes of Captain Blood other adventure tales pale in comparison.

  • Vonia
    2019-05-12 10:43

    I have been a long-time fan of Arturo Perez-Reverte, for a variety of reasons I will get to in a moment. But before I begin my gushing, I would like to note my minimal disappointment in him for the Captain Alatriste series. I find series, like television series, significantly more difficult to "write correctly". It ends up leading toward quantity over quality, the adage "less is more" coming in handy quite frequently. As opposed to short stories- or short films, to follow the analogy- where condensing is the art. Or Perez-Reverte's forte, the novel, where it feels like each word is necessary, each scene considered, each chapter necessary. This series was far too long. I am confident in this assessment as I already feel this way two of of seven books in. I found it validating that the 2006 film, "Alatriste", starting Viggo Mortenson from " The Road", need be less than three hours. This is no "Game of Thrones", one series season a book. What we get here is the ebb and flow of a good story lengthened at unecessary points, making other details seem rushed, other necessary narrative structure aspects seem disproportionately lengthy. Worst of all, the abrupt ending to "Captain Alatriste" makes it blatantly that there will be a sequel. And not because it is a cliff-hanger. "Captain Alatriste" actually ties necessary loose ends in that it could stand alone as a novel. Except for the pacing and anticlimactic conclusion, which goes a little something like this, referencing The Hero's Journey [ ordinary would, call to adventure, refusal, (barely any meeting the mentor or crossing the threshold), tests, ordeal (extremely short), the reward, the road back. And then the ending trails off after that. No resurrection or return of the elixir, the necessary stages eleven and twelve. "Purity of Blood" is significantly better in pacing, with illustration of most of the stages. It still was left open-ended for the series continuance, though. In conclusion, I would have respected the novels far more had they not been forced into a series. But, they were, and I rated accordingly. Luckily for readers, Perez-Reverte is a talented enough author that his storytelling proficiency and handling of language makes up for most of this. Prince Alatriste. A character that I greatly admire; written well and, importantly, consistent. The facts: Captain Diego Alatriste y Tenorio (1582–1643), Leonese soldier since he was 13. Never an official captain, he earned the nickname when he had to briefly take command of his unit after their real captain was killed. He survives in peacetime as a sword for hire in Madrid.  The more important facts can best be described by a sonnet written by his friend, poet Don Francisco de Quevedo: "You, Diego, whose sword so nobly defendsThe name and honor of your family, As long as you are blessed with life to live, You will battle every enemy.You wear the tunic of an old brigade, And with God's help, you wear it without stain. Your scruples are so uncompromising That you will never let it be profaned.Courageous on the bloody battlefield, In days of peace, still more honor you acquire. And in your heart and mind there breathes such fire That to empty boasting you will never yield." No words from me needed. Speaking of the poems, they were a pleasure to read. Not being a reader of poetry, I had a hard time understanding several of them, but there were many others, scattered throughout the text and then at the end of the story, describing characters, mocking situations, describing the culture, emphasizing pride for Spain, even in a "poet-off", responding to another poet's less then flattering poetry. Next on the list of things I loved in the first two books is Perez's already established impressive expertise on the fascinating history of fencing. Mind you, the real study of ancient fencing, not today's changed "sport" with all its safety precautions. In Captain Alatriste's universe, fencing was not a "sport". Or a "sport". It was a necessary way of life. Survival. One misstep could equal a bloody death. I actually liked the author's "The Fencing Master" where he goes into far greater detail with the art. But you will have to read my review for that one to learn more! The settings of his stories are always intriguing. His descriptions make them even magnificent. Thrilling. Unbelievable. Fascinating. Even better yet, then, to find out that these are real places, in works history. The Captain Alatriste series takes place in the 1620s, 1623-1626 to be exact, so far. A time with balls and courtesans, kinds and queens, gold and silver. And swordsmanship. There are seven novels written in the series as of 2011, with two more in the works.The series is narrated by Íñigo Balboa y Aguirre, the young Basque squire of Alatriste. He is the son of Lope Balboa, who was an old friend and comrade of Alatriste. Alatriste's pledge to the dying Lope is to take care of his son. Young Iñigo follows Alatriste like a shadow, idolizing him, although he rarely expresses any live, affection, or even vocal appreciation when Iñigo saves his life. Alatriste tries to steer him away from his dangerous lifestyle, but Iñigo's tenacity eventually wins. Once this is understood, Alatriste shows him a thing or two. Alongside all this, historic Spanish events are mentioned, cultural information is given. A short guide to ancient Spain. As far as I can tell, Perez-Reverte includes these with accuracy. As illustrated by his previous novel "The Dumas Club", Perez-Reverte has a great appreciation for Spanish literature. Cervantes references are also frequent, which I fully admired. In the first novel, it is 1623. Diego Alatriste and Italian sword-for-hire Gualterio Malatesta are paid by two mysterious masked characters to kill a pair of unknown English visitors in Madrid. They are hired by cloaked characters, as mysterious as they are dangerous. To be exact, after they are given their directions to merely rob the travelers with "no blood" by a man who leaves the room, a hidden character reveals himself from behind a wall. This man offers more than double for them to kill the travelers. Alatriste and Malatesta accept. It is quickly discovered that the motivation behind this is religious. In "Purity of Blood", it is still 1623, Madrid. The author focuses even more on religious aspects, the title referring to Portuguese, Jewish blood being unpure, grounds for immediate death by most, the Royal Court included. The novel opens with the murder of a woman, left in front of the church. Quevedo seeks help from Alatriste to rescue a girl forced to enter a convent; meanwhile Alatriste's young squire Íñigo Balboa deepens his infatuation with the adolescent maidservant of the Queen, Angélica de Alquézar. The Italian Malatesta returns, continuing the rivalry. **** Spoilers *** Captain Alatriste:On the night of their deed, The Italian (who is discernable by his "ti-ri-tu, ta-ta" incantation- something that gives him away in future duels) and Alatriste are about to finish the men when Alatriste had a change of heart and spares the men, forcing Malatesta as well. (This despite the Italian's dishonorable, vindictively cunning tricks, such as miming a surrender.) Malatesta leaves the scene with the promise of revenge. Alas, the intended victims turn out to be the Duke of Buckingham and the Prince of Wales, on a mission to seduce the Infanta. A high profile, high danger, high complexity assignment. Everything he tries hard to avoid. Unfortunately, having been deceived, Alatriste little choice in the matter now. The Prince, for his part, is most grateful and swears to be in Alatriste's debt. The second villain here turns out to be the hidden man in that room long ago. A Dominican friar named Bocanegra, an official of the Inquisition. Cloaked by his followers in the church as well as lies, bureaucracy, politics, and red tape, he is almost untouchable. His known but unseen presence seems to envoke a feeling of doom throughout. "Purity of Blood": During their rescue of the girl, young Iñigo is captured by the Inquisition. It is found out by Alatriste and Quevedo that they were set up by the rival from Book One, Malatrsta. Iñigo is tortured, but no matter how intolerable it becomes, he refuses to mention any names. Calling on favors from those whom are indebted to him (unsurprisingly, there are many), Captain Alatriste achieves the impossible. He finds information that prevents Iñigo's death by gauntlet, a public spectacle. The information? That the King's favorite, with the power to grant clemency and to pardon, is of "unpure" blood as well.

  • Clau Carrasco
    2019-05-19 17:41

    No le doy las cinco estrellas porque el final es bastante abierto y la trama en si no es adictiva. En términos generales me ha gustado bastante. En base al libro he ido investigando sobre hechos y personajes que se narran en la novela y es bastante fiel a la realidad histórica en muchos aspectos. El persona De Diego Alatriste es fantástico, un hombre de honor dentro de su trabajo como espada a sueldo. En la narración se entrevé la opinión del escritor en algunos aspectos, incluso he podido leer frases completas que después he escuchado por su boca en alguna entrevista.Sin duda continuaré la saga, pues me parece un libro de referencia para transportarse al Madrid de los Austrias.

  • Lau
    2019-05-21 15:41

    Me encantan las historias de aventura y espadachines desde que leí Los Tres Mosqueteros cuando era chica. Algo de ese estilo es lo que esperaba con el Capitán Alatriste, aunque realmente no se qué es lo que esperaba. No conocía al personaje hasta que hace unos años salió la película, y a pesar de que tenía en la cabeza la imagen de Viggo Mortensen, al Diego Alatriste del libro lo imaginé bastante diferente y más jóven.Lo primero que pensé fue "¡qué español es todo!" y a partir de ahí muchas veces tuve que frenar porque en mi mente lo estaba leyendo con acento andaluz (a pesar de que esté ambientado en Madrid y que yo no sea española).El narrador es Íñigo, un muchachito de 13 años cuya madre enviudó a causa de la guerra y por no poder mantenerlo lo dio como escudero a Alatriste, quien había peleado junto a su marido y ahora tiene la dudosa profesión de mercenario. Será Íñigo quien cuente las aventuras del Capitán (que no es realmente Capitán, larga historia) a veces desde su propia voz y a veces repitiendo anédotas que más tarde le contaría Alatriste.El argumento en sí es bastante breve. Alatriste es llamado en una misión secreta donde predominan los secretos y hay mucho secretismo secreto. Dos enmascarados -de identidad secreta- lo contratan junto a dos mercenarios más para que asalten y lastimen a dos viajeros ingleses -de nombre secreto- que pasarán con sus caballos por un punto específico de la ciudad (que no es secreto, porque sino no sabrían a dónde ir a asaltarlos). Al irse los enmascarados -secretamente- hace su aparición un Fray de la Inquisición y les da una contraorden (secreta): no deben lastimar a los ingleses sino que deben matarlos. Y el motivo es secreto.Como con los de la Insiquisión no se hacen bromas, Alatriste tendrá que matar a los ingleses... pero la cosa no será tan "fácil" como aparenta en principio.A fin de cuentas, lo de jugar limpio cuando iba a escote el pellejo, eso era algo que tal vez contribuyera a la salvación del alma en la vida eterna; pero en lo tocante a la de acá, la terrena, suponía, sin duda, el camino más corto para abandonarla con cara de idiota y un palmo de acero en el hígado. Y Diego Alatriste no tenía ninguna maldita prisa. No quedé demasiado cautivada con el libro, mientras lo leía notaba que no estaba atrapada en la historia, si bien Alatriste me simpatizó mucho. Se dice del Capitán que «podía hacer amigos hasta en el infierno». El carisma está bien logrado.Como ya dije, es una historia breve. En comparación, más que verdadero avance en la trama hay muchísimos comentarios, introducción a personajes, recuerdos y una cantidad alarmante de sonetos cuya aparición busca ser humorística pero llegado un punto me cansaron. Y enumeraciones. Hay muchas enumeraciones. También hay muchas pausas para ponernos en contexto o darnos información -a veces un tanto innecesaria- sobre alguien o un lugar y que a veces cortan un poco la historia al medio. Humor no le falta, tiene una cierta ironía y por momentos esa educación y modales que se encuentran en los diálogos tan caballerosos de Emilio Salgari. Pero sólo por momentos, porque también hay unas cuantas palabrotas que si bien lo vuelven todo más real, pierden un poco el efecto 'Corsario Negro' que se había logrado.Alatriste y el hombre de la capa negra cambiaron una mirada profesional, como consultándose el alcance de la palabra picotazo, y las posibilidades —más bien remotas— de distinguir a un rubio de otro en mitad de una refriega, y de noche. Imaginad el cuadro: sería vuestra merced tan amable de venir a la luz y destocarse, caballero, gracias, veo que sois el más rubio, permitid que os introduzca una cuarta de acero toledano en los higadillos.Sospecho que los españoles deben disfrutar este libro mucho más de lo que lo hice yo. Hay una gran cantidad de referencias históricas que -asumo- ocurrieron y desconozco. También hay muchas referencias a Velazques, aunque esto lo digo más como curiosidad que otra cosa.Honestamente no se si leeré la continuación. No es un libro malo en absoluto, simplemente yo no me encontré queriendo salir a batirme a duelo todo lo sumergida en la historia que me hubiera gustado.Reseña de Fantasía Mágica

  • Derek
    2019-05-02 09:34

    "It was an era of quixotic, sterile deeds that determined reason and right at the imperious tip of a sword."It is the late summer of the Spanish Empire: Spain is at the height of its power. Treasure ships arriving regularly from the New World, fueling the court scene in Madrid. The defeat of the Invincible Armada has cast the first pall of mortality, and the indeterminable war in Flanders drains the country. The Empire will not last, but meanwhile the court dances to the art of the theater, poetry, and the sharp knives of intrigue.The events of the book have long shadows: a relatively simple job goes deliberately wrong, with long repercussions for Diego Alatriste and his friends. Even more so, Íñigo Balboa's narration hint at further dark actions and events and the ignominious decline of Spain and its monarch over the next decades. Its compactness and economy of scale is remarkable, fitting this puzzle piece of intrigue and action into some 250 pages, which still manages to be steeped in the near-decadence and languorous lifestyle of the time.

  • Commodore Tiberius Q. Handsome
    2019-04-28 12:24

    I learned that every single Spanish author is better than every single American one. I am extrapolating my survey of two Spanish authors (this one and Zufon) and applying it to the whole, though. Anyway this splendid novel is a swashbuckler, featuring super-Spaniard and swordsman-for-hire Captain Diego Alatriste y Tenorio, the eponymous hero and adventurer. He spends most of his time in 17th Century Spain being awesome and running his rapier through suckers' guts. TAKE THAT BITCHEZ. Historical adventure fiction in the mold of Dumas and Scott. Highly recommended.

  • Fletcher Vredenburgh
    2019-05-21 13:33

    Terrific swashbuckling adventure set in Madrid during the Spanish Empire's Golden Age. Even more than the titular hero Captain Alatriste, the city of Madrid is the star of the book. Poets duel with vicious verse, the hand of the Inquisition reaches from the shadows to work its will, and out-of-work soldiers fill the streets. Perez-Reverte brings a too little known (in America) age back to life and tells an exciting tale as well.

  • Víctor Blanco
    2019-05-13 15:40

    Recordaba este libro con mucho cariño. Lo he pasado bien leyéndolo, pero la parte de Iñigo se me ha hecho muy pesada. También los exabruptos de Reverte sobre el carácter de España y los españoles que, si bien me parecen muy acertados, en mi opinión pecan de presentismo y se reiteran demasiado. ¡Voy a por Limpieza de Sangre!

  • Adrian Fix
    2019-05-14 11:37

    una lectura ligera y entretenida con grandes personajes ademas es un excelente libro para comprender mejor el siglo de oro.

  • Yvonne (It's All About Books)
    2019-04-24 17:36

    Pages: 242“No era el hombre más honesto ni el más piadoso, pero era un hombre valiente.”(view spoiler)[I had made a promise to myself last year to start reading more in Spanish again, but apparently that promise was soon forgotten... I only just managed to squeeze in this story before 2017 ended, which definitely wasn't what I had originally planned for the year. I have read Arturo Pérez-Reverte's work in the past, so I thought the first book of the Adventures Of Captain Alatriste would be a safe bet. This first book is simply named after the main character of this series set in 17th century Spain: El Capitán Alatriste. I have a weak spot for both historical fiction and books set in one of my favorite countries, Spain, so I thought I would really enjoy this one. Unfortunately, things turned out to be different. I know Spanish isn't my native language, but I both have a degree in Spanish Philology and have been using Spanish daily for years, so I can confirm the language itself wasn't a barrier. What did slow me down considerably is the general tone and pace of the story, and the fact that nothing much happened during the story. Not only was the historical setting quite weak and could have been elaborated a lot more, but I also found the way the story was told through someone close to Alatriste not entertaining at all. This probably has a lot to do with the writing as well as the lack of a proper plot and more action... I did appreciate the incorporation of old Spanish literature in the text. But still, I definitely won't be continuing this series any time soon. (hide spoiler)]P.S. Find more of my reviews here.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Lesia Joukova
    2019-05-03 16:28

    I really really liked this one! Arturo's works are beautiful and this one is so heavily influenced by the Three Musketeers that a fact from the book is even referenced throughout it like it's totally canon. And I'm fine with that. I loved this book and I need to go on with the series. I do think that if you speak Spanish, you should totally read that in the original, otherwise you're kind of missing out.This is one of those books where every sentence is a gem. Maybe I'll read the 2nd one in Russian :)

  • Stephen
    2019-05-16 16:43

    As far as novels go, I think my favorites come from Pérez-Reverte. This, a Spanish love letter to Dumas, is probably my second favorite novel of his. It's full of gritty swashbuckling fun, with, and provides an excellent snapshot of Madrid in that time period.