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  Arturo Perez-Reverte lives near Madrid. Originally a war correspondent, he now writes fiction full-time.  His novels include: The Flanders Panel, The Club Dumas, The Fencing Master, The Seville Communion, The Nautical Chart and The Queen of the South. In 2003, he was elected to the Spanish Royal Academy. If you have read The Fencing Master or seen the movie of the same name then you'll have a good idea of what it's like in Madrid in the 1620s, a time when a man must live by his wits, and often by his sword.   For this is a time when court intrigue is high, when the decadent young king has dragged the country into a series of disastrous wars, and citizens live in fear of the infamous Spanish Inquisition.  In this political hotbed of hired assassins, court players, political moles, smugglers, and pirates, Captain Alatriste hires out his skills as a dashing swordsman with a mind as sharp as his blade. 

Now Captain Alatriste is approached by two masked men to fake an attack on a pair of travellers who are stealing into Madrid in the dead of night.  But things take a turn when the Captain realises that this is no ordinary job, but part of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels.......  

Rating ****

This adventure would make for an excellent story to a "classic" swashbuckling movie.... a good-looking young dude, Inigo, leaves home to go and live with his dead father's war-time compatriot and friend, Capt. Diego Alatriste. I suppose to repay a past battle deed.   It was also the year young Inigo meets and falls in love with Angelica de Alquezar, who as perverse and wicked as only Evil in the form of a blonde, beautiful, young girl can be.

The sword fighting stirs imagination:  The Englishman.... drew his sword with the speed of lightning and positioned himself to defend. Alatriste planted one foot, stepped forward with the other and engaged blades.  As soon as the Englishman disengaged, Alatriste made a lateral slash with his vizcaina to ward off a thrust and rattle his opponent. An instant later, the young man had been driven back against the wall, desperately defending and with no room to manoeuvre.  The captain methodically and confidently prepared to thrust home through the first available opening, for although the youth fought skilfully and valiantly, he was too fiery, wild, and was defeating himself.   Alatriste could hear the clash of swords, heavy breathing and curses coming from the Italian and the other young Englishman.  Out of the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of their shadows, then heard a moan and saw the shadow of the young lad slip down the wall.  He was wounded, defending himself now on one knee with greater and greater difficulty............ and it's now that the story takes a rather bizarre turn....   

Get a copy of the book today and find out for yourself.   It's a great read and it would make for a great film.

Captain Alatriste

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Date Last Modified: 11 Apr 2016