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Pirates of the Levant by Arturo…
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Sixth in the Captain Alatriste series set in early 17th century Spain.

As usual, Perez-Reverte, through the medium of the professional swordsman/soldier, Captain Alatriste, and his 17 year old protogé, Íñigo Balboa, explores yet another aspect of early 17th century Spain, that of its colonies in the Levant.

Alatriste and Íñigo have signed on as soldiers (marines, really) in the galleys, Spain’s navy. They are to patrol the Levant, harassing and destroying Turkish, English and other enemy shipping. While cannon were employed on naval ships, Spain, with its history tied to its infantry and the hidalgo scorn for sailors, did not do so as extensively as the British. Indeed, Íñigo, in a truly funny passage, sneers at the English for hiding behind their canon, cowards that they are. The difference shows up in the Aubrey/Maturin novels of the Napoleonic sea warfare; the Spanish are considered courageous sailors, but can’t point a gun to hit the broad side of a barn.

While Alatriste, Íñigo, and afriends have many an adventure, teh sub-plot--what was the Spanish point of view in ejecting the Moors from Spain, what happened to the converted Moors--Moriscos--and the empire’s relations with its North 
African colonies in what is now Morocco and Algiers--is fascinating, as is usual in a Perez-Reverte novel of this period.

The book culminates with the Battle of the Escanerlu Channel, near Malta, in what is not only a wonderfully written action-adventure of its type Perez-Reverte does nto have to take a back seat to such as O’Brian or Forester for his description--but is the perfect example of what made Spain the empire it was--the courage and honor of the Spanish soldier.

Highly recommended ( )
  Joycepa | Dec 30, 2010 |
EL CAPITAN ALATRISTE
  abrego | Jan 1, 2009 |
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Taking work as a mercenary aboard a Spanish galleon, Captain Alatriste, accompanied by his faithful foster son, Inigo, participates in a grueling battle on the high seas that brings Inigo's readiness for independence into question.

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