This is the second book in Alatriste series, perfect to attend the decay of the biggest Empire in the world (Spain, of course) hand in hand with our captain Alatriste, who is hesitating in this book whether or not re-join the army, this time with his young squire, Íñigo.
Before making a decision, don Francisco de Quevedo asks Alatriste for help in an affair: they want to rescue a nun, the daughter of an honourable gentleman, Quevedo’s friend, from a nunnery in which the chaplain seems not to obey his vow of celibacy correctly. But in the assault, it turns out that not only was the young girl waiting to be rescued, but also the Inquisition appeared in the nunnery, as well as the best villain ever, Gualterio Malatesta, to catch Alatriste and his friends. In the fight at night, they manage to capture Íñigo and lead him to the Inquisition prison in Toledo, were the possibilities after your confession were two: to burn on a bonfire, or to be hunged and then burned on a bonfire.
In this part of the series Pérez-Reverte shows our lovely and morality-concerned Inquisition, that is able to torture a 13-year-old boy but not with torture implements, of course, until he is 14; and everything is because you have a surname which is suspected to be Jewish, or because you don’t seem to be an old Christian, which means that perhaps your great-grandparent was not a Christian, no matter if you go to a Catholic church every Sunday because you really believe in it. Even the most powerful people could do nothing against the Holy Office.
I didn’t expect Íñigo to be the center of attention in this book, but he really is an interesting main character because he knows nobody can help him but nevertheless he doesn’t betray captain Alatriste and, to our relief, from the beginning of the series we know that Íñigo is telling us the whole story when he is an adult, later on.
Just like the first book of the series, this has been a gripping story with an excellent narrative style, so if you are looking for a terrific cast of characters (real and imaginary ones), sword fights and the most evil villain ever, you won’t be disappointed with our captain Alatriste.
See you in the next book in Flanders!
I have been reading this book with Leander since we both wanted to read this saga, and it has been a great experience, as always. I won’t forget “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition”. Thanks Leander!
- Leander’s review of Purity of blood
- My review of Captain Alatriste (Alatriste 1)
- Arturo Pérez-Reverte on twitter
I have only read one Arturo Pérez-Reverte, which was The Club Dumas and I really enjoyed that novel!
I didn’t know that he wrote a series! I will sure to check this out on Goodreads, you know how I love spanish literature… ok, maybe not, I just like a lot of Spanish authors, and Pérez-Reverte is no exception. This series sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
You’ll enjoy this one too, I’m sure. It’s written in “old Spanish” but it is really a page-turner. There are 7 books of Alatriste at the moment (I think only the first six books have been translated into English) and they are really funny.
Oh, and there is also a film with Viggo Mortensen playing Alatriste 😀
I will go see what the English titles are! Viggo Mortensen… Say no more! 🙂
I hope you haven’t forgotten that we’re doing a “joint-watching” of the film at the end of the joint-reading of the series, Isi! 🙂
Thoroughly enjoyed your lovely post and I’m glad Monty Python made their way into it! I’m just finishing mine off and it’ll be up soon x
No, I haven’t forgotten becuase I have the film at home! (my father bought it time ago). It’s been great to read it together, even though I felt ashamed when English were mentioned in the book 😀
Well, the English haven’t exactly been sweet and innocent all the way through their history. Technically speaking, from Alatriste’s point of view, we are heretics! And to be fair our historical novels aren’t always polite about the Spanish either 🙂
I thought I recognised that author, I remember you writing about his books before. I think this was a series I was meant to look at reading already – glad to read this review, it’s jogged my mind 🙂
Perhaps you have heard about Pérez Reverte before, but I think that this series are not as popular as other books of him, like The club Dumas, for example.
Anyway, you have to give it a try! And if you do, you have to tell me to read the rest together 😀
RebeccaScaglione - Love at First Book said:
“The most evil villan ever”
You have me intrigued!
He’s completely awesome, Rebecca. A Sicilian swordsman with a twisted sense of honour who always dresses in black and signals his arrival with a whistle? Brilliant. For once, part of me is actually rooting for the villain 😉
(Isi, I presume you’re talking about Malatesta? Unless of course you mean Angelica, which is perfectly possible 🙂 )
RebeccaScaglione - Love at First Book said:
I’m adding this series to my list ASAP! If you guys are so enthused about the books, I need to see why!
Rebeca: the villain is a great character because he is actually another “Alatriste”, but a little bit more evil 😉 Hope you give the books a try: they are short and you’ll see they are page-turners!
Leander: touché! Angélica is also one of the best villains! but I suppose she will be even better (villain) later on in the series… Be prepared!
Sounds like a good read. Thank you!
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