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Captain Alatriste (1996)

by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Adventures of Captain Alatriste (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,685795,320 (3.55)150
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.… (more)
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» See also 150 mentions

English (62)  Spanish (13)  French (4)  All languages (79)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
El capitán Alatriste
Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Carlota Pérez-Reverte
Publicado: 1996 | 157 páginas
Novela Aventuras Histórico
Serie: Las aventuras del capitán Alatriste #1

«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 Fland es 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 como un torbellino en estas páginas inolvidables.
  libreriarofer | Aug 8, 2023 |
Pretty good historical-adventure story set in Spain in the early 1600s about an ex-soldier swordsman-for-hire. Well-written but not as exciting as I expected. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
Not bad, but not that great. I'm not too tempted to read the sequels that are scheduled to come out, one per year, starting next month. [2014: I did go on to read and enjoy all the sequels.] To me, there was POV confusion, as the narrator was a young boy, a friend of the protagonist, but certain things were revealed that only an omniscient narrator would know. When and where there was action in the book, it was interesting, but there were many times when there was a lack action. I also didn't feel that the insertion of poetry into the narrative served any useful purpose. I would not call this "magnificent", as the jacket blurb does. ( )
  MarkLacy | May 29, 2022 |
Diego Alatriste is a swordsman in dangerous and corrupt 17th century Spain where his services are requested to settle debts or restore a family's reputation.
  VargasTorres | Mar 14, 2022 |
"There are women who are interesting for their charms, priests for their absolutions, old men for their money… As for men like you and me, it is only our swords." (pg. 21)

Some promising, good-calibre escapism from Arturo Pérez-Reverte. This first Captain Alatriste novel is standard Dumas-like adventure fare pepped up by good dialogue and the odd literary flourish. It is in essence a character study of its titular 17th-century captain, an honourable soldier of fortune who, after being hired to Jussie Smollett some mysterious Englishmen in a dark alley, instead saves them after they conduct themselves honourably in the swordfight. Alatriste is quite an interesting character throughout, as we watch him negotiate the pitfalls and intrigues of Spain's 'Golden Age'.

Pérez-Reverte is keen to educate the reader on the realities of this Golden Age, showing how "Spain had begun to doze, trusting in the gold and silver that the galleons brought from the Indies", leading to corruption and "an inexorable decadence" (pg. 60). If the author's educational enthusiasm does sometimes become a bit overt, there are more than enough swordfights, pistol shots and plumed hats to compensate. It's good adventure.

I'm a sucker for this sort of thing and its faults are irrelevant to me, but here they are anyway: For one thing, the author's occasional literary flourishes can disguise that what he has here is essentially the Spanish equivalent of a Sharpe novel, and those readers who crave originality will be disappointed. The book is short and easy – great for a lazy weekend – but it lacks the extra qualities of theme, character, pathos and allusion that elevate, for example, the Flashman novels by George MacDonald Fraser, which recurred in my mind as I read it. The book is also, as other reviewers have mentioned, a bit slow at times. The plot takes a while to warm and it ends rather sharply, with the author clearly setting the stage for future novels. But there is enough promise here in Captain Alatriste that I'll be reading them in due course. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jan 3, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (55 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arturo Pérez-Reverteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Peden, Margaret SayersTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary 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.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do NOT combine with Captain Alatriste. This book contains three novels: Captain Alatriste, Purity of Blood, The Sun of Breda.
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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.

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