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Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte
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Captain Alatriste (original 1996; edition 2005)

by Arturo Perez-Reverte, Margaret Sayers Peden (Translator), Scott Brick (Reader)

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1,792603,908 (3.53)118
Member:sjmccreary
Title:Captain Alatriste
Authors:Arturo Perez-Reverte
Other authors:Margaret Sayers Peden (Translator), Scott Brick (Reader)
Info:Plume (2005), Edition: Tra, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Spain, 17th C, fiction, F/C Diego Alatriste, English prince, sword fighting, historical, Madrid

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Captain Alatriste by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (1996)

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» See also 118 mentions

English (50)  Spanish (8)  French (2)  All languages (60)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
I read this book in English, because I thought the Spanish of maritime adventures of a captain might be too hard for me to understand. Well, I suppose I learned my lesson to look up the plot a bit more carefully before making such conclusions. Yes, Alatriste is a "captain" of sorts, but not a ship captain. Duh! The plot is a solid, simple intrigue, the characters well-done, the storyline is neither overly adventurous, nor too academic. For me, it was the right balance between action and historical fiction. For some, it may be too little action or plot, and for some too much history (though I cannot imagine how a few pages here and there about the state of Spanish-British-Dutch relations is too much, but hey, to each his own.) The narration from the point of view of the captain's page is a fresh perspective and at times aptly humorous.
With that said, I'll probably put the Captain Alatriste series on the "buy in an airport if in need of an easy, fun, good read" list and try some of the more formidable Reverte works... ( )
  bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
I adore Pérez-Reverte's narration and his complete command of the Spanish language. Reading his books will improve your vocabulary and your appreciation of Spanish.

The characters are interesting and engaging. It's a short little book, kind of a novella with some extra meat on the bones. The plot twist happens at the end of the first third, so you are rooting for the right people for most of the book. The environment lives and breathes Siglo de Oro Madrid, warts and all.

Would recommend it to everyone. Would read it again. ( )
  Kwarizmi | Aug 28, 2013 |

Last year I enjoyed this author's The Club Dumas quite a lot, so had high hopes for this one. They were, alas, moderately dashed. It sets out to be a rattling Dumas-style adventure in 1620s Madrid, as the ex-soldier-now-paid-thug Alatriste accepts an assassination commission from which, at the very last minute, he pulls back, thereby finding himself in hot water as powerful forces within the Spanish court both fume that he's disobeyed their murderous instructions and realize that he's in a position, should he blab, to cause severe ructions -- the intended assassination victims being none other than a traveling-incognito future Charles I of England and "Steenie". It's also the story of the boy Inigo, rendered fatherless on the battlefield and now quasi-apprenticed to Alatriste.

The pages turn easily enough, but at the end of the book I was left with the feeling that, despite a reasonable number of events, in a sense nothing much had really happened. Had this been a true story, it'd have been one of those footnotes of history that deserve to remain footnotes.

Okay for passing the time on a train journey, then, but not much more. I gather this is the first in a series, so perhaps the books will begin to add up to something more substantial. The translation's generally pretty good, although there were about three places where, brows furrowing as I tried to work out what the text was telling me, I concluded I was suffering the consequence of translationary screwups that either the copyeditor or the translator herself ought to have sorted out.
( )
  JohnGrant1 | Aug 11, 2013 |
The first of the "swashbuckling" style of story that start Alatriste and his young protoge. Great read if you like Three Musketeers adventure, this is a little more down to earth. ( )
  jessiejluna | Jun 15, 2013 |
this book tells a relatively simple story: a boy comes to madrid in the height of her golden age to serve as a page/helper/errand-runner to a sword-for-hire that was a buddy of his dad's back in the day; swashbuckling ensues. the story itself is rather good, but it's unnecessarily bogged down in random meanderings. apparently, the narrator is that same errand boy all grown up into an old man, and he tends to veer off the topic a good bit. i like a little embellishment for verisimilitude as much as the next chick, but when you catch yourself rolling your eyes for the nth time, thinking "ugh, just get to the point already!" it mars the story a bit. this book clearly exists only to set up all the major characters for the rest of the series, i just wish something had actually happened to them once we met them all. ( )
  fireweaver | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arturo Pérez-Reverteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peden, Margaret SayersTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Achille, GinoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Was once a captain,
the story goes,
who led men in battle,
though in death's throes.
Oh, señores! What an apt man
was that brave captain!

E. Marquina
The Sun Has Set in Flanders
Dedication
For our grandparents Sebastián, Amelia, Pepe and Cala: for life, books and memories.
First words
He was not the most honest or pious of men, but he was courageous.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452287111, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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