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The Queen of the South by Arturo…

The Queen of the South (original 2002; edition 2004)

by Arturo Perez-Reverte

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Title:The Queen of the South
Authors:Arturo Perez-Reverte
Info:Putnam Adult (2004), Hardcover, 438 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Queen of the South by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (2002)

Recently added bykellycd, private library, tangierbookclub, livethejourney, thejayray
  1. 21
    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père (lilisin)
    lilisin: "Queen of the South" is a modern retake on "The Count". Not my favorite read but you can definitely see the parallels.
  2. 00
    At the Devil's Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel by William C. Rempel (srdr)
    srdr: For readers looking for a non-fiction title on the same topic, this one has even more suspense.

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English (32)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Teresa Mendoza was once attached to a talented drug smuggler in Mexico. That is, until he started skimming off the top and got himself killed. She had to flee to the back end of Spain. But her story doesn’t settle down into a quiet life there. More drugs, organized crime, and heart break ensue.

Set in the 1980s, this is a sweeping story about endurance. Teresa was born into a world where there are few paths out of poverty. When fortune gave her a chance, she took it, though it eventually cost her dearly. Teresa was a fascinating character. She starts off relatively innocent. She’s not above doing a little weed now and then or getting drunk or having sex with her drug smuggling boyfriend. But she herself has nothing to do with the business. She still has her little job, is young, and just having fun. But once he’s killed and the narcos come after her (because they not only take out the man, but also his woman) she can either lay down and die, or pick up that handgun and even the playing field.

She makes it to Spain partly because she is smart and lies low but also because a friend owed her now dead man a favor. There she works at a seedy bar and has sworn off the drug smuggling life completely. That is until a Gaucho shows up and makes her heart flutter. Once again, she is pulled back into that world. However, this time she refuses to be an ignorant hanger-on. She makes it her business.

Every step she takes, she gets tougher. She’s really very practical about it all by the end, like nearly all the emotions have been wrung out of her through the years. It is an amazingly well done story arc. I so enjoyed watching her transformation. Her time in prison was especially interesting because it was filled with inner reflection and a sad humor, and books.

So obviously I am in love with Teresa Mendoza. Let’s talk about everything else. The plot, the pacing, the side characters, the sex – they too are also very well done. I loved all the Spanish and Mexican vocabulary and cultural references tossed in. I was never too sure where the plot was going, but I was thoroughly entertained and totally engrossed in finding out what would happen next.

The tale is told in two voices: Teresa’s and a reporter who is tracing her life for an in-depth biography. So sometimes we know that Teresa must have made it through some pinch because the reporter is talking to her or someone else about the incident in the past. Using the reporter character allowed us readers to see sides of Teresa or the collateral damage of her work that we wouldn’t see through Teresa’s eyes. It was clever. This was a very satisfying book and I look forward to enjoying more of Perez-Reverte’s works.

Narration: Lina Patel was the perfect voice for Teresa. She has a beautiful Mexican accent and I loved her fluid pronunciation of all the Spanish words, including the long strings of insults. She had distinct voices for male and female side characters as well. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Jul 19, 2015 |
I picked up this book on a whim. I've previously read the first Captain Alatriste novel and The Club Dumas, and loved them both, so I was confident that I'd enjoy Perez-Reverte's work in a more contemporary setting. The Queen of the South is a novel about the rise and fall of a female nacrotrafficante and her journey from Sinaloa to Gibraltar & Spanish North Africa and finally back to Sinaloa.

The book had all the things I've come to love about Perez-Reverte's work: a fictionalized journalistic style, solidly written action with clearly drawn characters, and swashbuckling heros described with philosophical and literary allusions.

What I didn't expect (although I should have after the Club Dumas) was that the Queen of the South is a loving homage to The Count of Monte Christo. Perez-Reverte did not just copy the plot arc of Dumas Pere's classic. He wrote a love story to it. Each character is drawn with painstaking strokes to capture something essential about the archetype without slavishly copying or over-simplifying.

What Perez-Reverte does extraordinarily well is to choose his parallels so that they highlight central human characters and flaws that tie the 19th century romance with contemporary happenings. He also builds emotional weight slowly and without sentimentality or hyperbole. This allows him to pre-weight a scene with emotional impact and then deliver a terse, journalistic paragraph that merely states facts and yet breaks this readers' heart. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
After a difficult start, I found this book to be tremendously engaging. Rather than "glorify" the drug lord culture, the book follows this woman's life from pretty much a nothing girlfriend of a minor drug dealer, to a major player in the world of international drug trade. Although I abhor what this "industry' does, it was fascinating to read about a world I would never have any access to otherwise.

The melding of fact and fiction was heightened for me when I tried to do some research on the web about the "real" Mendoza - only to find that the movie that was begun, based on the book was halted due to safety concerns for the cast and crew.

This book was definitely very different than Perez-Reverte's other books (at least the 2 I've read), but it is a fine, well-crafted book. And, again, although I don't believe the book glorifies the drug trade, you find yourself rooting for this woman who's learned in all of the hardest ways how to outman then men in this world, to think under pressure and to let no man or woman cause her to make a careless error. The enormity of how well she does this is revealed at the end of the book, and I found myself reviewing in my head many of the scenes that are affected by the secret she's kept for decades!
Brilliant book - although, because of the language and subject matter - much darker than his other books, which I often save for the summer when I really have time to sink into a book that portrays worlds far from the ones I travel in ( )
  MarshaKT | Aug 1, 2013 |
I loved this book!!! The story of a young Mexican woman who gets mixed up in the drug trade of the nineties (I think), she escapes the lifestyle by moving to Spain and becoming her own boss-in the drug trade. Fabulously written, I felt like I was in the sun and on the boats and living that whole rich lifestyle with more than a touch of anxiety riding underneath. Not at all the type of book that I normally read, but I love the author's other books and gave this one a shot-it is definitely one of his best and I recommend it to everyone. ( )
  jessiejluna | Jun 15, 2013 |
I was confused by the story at first but after the first 50 pages the story began to come together and I really enjoyed it. ( )
  EctopicBrain | Dec 4, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arturo Pérez-Reverteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pérez-Reverte, Arturomain authorall editionsconfirmed
Borges, Antonio FernandoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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O telefone tocou e ela compreendeu que iam matá-la.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452286549, Paperback)

Few authors inspire the kind of passion that Arturo Pérez-Reverte does. Reviewers, readers, and booksellers alike have embraced his fiction as the perfect blend of suspense and literary ambition. A global bestseller, he is one of the most admired and widely read authors in the world. And his stunning new novel is his best yet.

A remarkable tale, The Queen of the South spans continents, from the dusty streets of Mexico to the sparkling waters off the coast of Morocco, to Spain and the Strait of Gibraltar. A sweeping story set to the irresistible beat of the drug smugglers' ballads, it encompasses sensuality and cruelty, love and betrayal, as its heroine's story unfolds.

Teresa Mendoza's boyfriend is a drug smuggler who the narcos of Sinaloa, Mexico, call "the king of the short runway," because he can get a plane full of coke off the ground in three hundred yards. But in a ruthless business, life can be short, and Teresa even has a special cell phone that Guero gave her along with a dark warning. If that phone rings, it means he's dead, and she'd better run, because they're coming for her next.

Then the call comes.

In order to survive, she will have to say goodbye to the old Teresa, an innocent girl who once entrusted her life to a pinche narco smuggler. She will have to find inside herself a woman who is tough enough to inhabit a world as ugly and dangerous as that of the narcos-a woman she never before knew existed. Indeed, the woman who emerges will surprise even those who know her legend, that of the Queen of the South.


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:17 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Cuando descubre que su novio G?uero, un traficante de drogas mexicano, ha sido asesinado por sus rivales y que es el proximo objetivo, Teresa Mendoza debe renunciar a su vida anterior y convertirse en un miembro de un mundo oscuro y mortal para sobrevivir.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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