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Captain Alatriste (1996)

av Arturo Pérez-Reverte

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Serier: The Adventures of Captain Alatriste (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2,332694,643 (3.55)141
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.… (mer)
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» Se även 141 omnämnanden

engelska (57)  spanska (8)  franska (4)  Alla språk (69)
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Très surpris (positivement) par ces aventures très vivantes du Capitaine... je vais le suivre! ( )
  Nikoz | Nov 24, 2019 |
For the elite, Spain in the 1620s is a world of stately protocol, fine poetry and all the trappings of a great empire: the sun may be setting on Spanish dominance in the New World, but there’s still enough light to enjoy it while it lasts. Outside the insulated world of the court, however, things are very different. For the man on the street, it’s a world of living hand-to-mouth, gossip on street corners and scurrilous sonnets, where every insult is met with steel and where the appearance of gentility (bearing arms, getting good seats at the theatre) is more important than the reality. Into this roistering world of old soldiers, literary priests and jobbing poets comes young, wide-eyed Íñigo, whose mother has sent him to live with his late father’s comrade-in-arms, Captain Alatriste...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2013/03/22/captain-alatriste-arturo-perez-reverte/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Oct 7, 2019 |
Enjoyable if rather slow and melancholy historical adventure.

Set in Madrid in the 1600s, with Spain still ruler of a world Empire and still in the grip of the Inquisition, but decadent and slowly loosing power. The hero is an out-of-work solider, a war hero who must earn his living as a hired sword.

What action there is centers around interesting political intrigue and exciting sword fights. But what action there is interrupted (alas) by longwinded scenes of men talking in taverns and drunkenly bemoaning the dismal state of their world. The plot and intrigues deliberately mirror The Three Musketeers (even to the point of a visit by a somewhat younger Duke of Buckingham triggering the action). What's missing (alas) is the exuberance and joi de vivre of D'Artangan and his crew: maudlin Spaniards in place of dashing Frenchmen.

I also found the first-person point-of-view a problem. Because, uh, it's only sometimes first person.

The story is told by the hero's squire, and his hero worship tempered with keen obeservation of character is one of the highlights of the book. He comes across as somewhat more down-to-earth than his idealistic master, and there is nice subtle flavor of Sancho Panza playing to Alatriste's Don Quixote. Unfortuneately, in half the book the narrator himself is not present, and we flop, without explanation, into a third-person point-of-view focused on Alatriste. Technically troubling, but maybe that's just me.

It's interesting to compare this novel to other popular historical adventures of recent years: the series by Bernard Cornwall or Wilbur Smith's Egyptian books. Those are mostly all action, bluster and thunder, with just enough character to fill-out the costumes and carry the swords. Perez-Reverte's focus on interior life and complex emotion gives us much more lifelike and likeable characters, but the action (alas) trundles along too slowly, when it moves at all . The sweet spot for this reader is somewhere between these extremes.

At a mere 250 pages, I found Captain Alatriste a slow read, and was left feeling a lot more should have happened.

But I guess all that was saved for the sequels.


( )
  JackMassa | Jan 24, 2019 |
I have always been a sucker for the 17th Century; Cavaliers and Roundheads, Cyrano and Roxane, Peter Blood and his honorable pirates, Constance and Milady and D’Artagnan. Rapiers at dawn and satin gowns in candlelight. And this despite the knowledge that with a sword I would be considerably more dangerous to myself than to an opponent - I once cut myself on the sharp edge of a basketball - and that no amount of satin and candlelight could make up for the fact that the personal hygiene standards of the time meant Milady’s boudoir probably smelled like a sewage lift station. Perhaps Milady used enough scent that it smelled like a sewage lift station with a room deoderizer in it, but you could still pick up the undertones.


I therefore greeted the news that one of my favorite mystery authors - Arturo Perez-Reverte - was starting a series based on the picaresque adventures of a mercenary but honorable swordsman in the Madrid of Philip IV with favor. There’s some temerity in treading the same ground as Alexandre Dumas, but Perez-Reverte isn’t shy about it; the young Duke of Buckingham is an important figure in the novel, and his eventual demise at the hands of an agent of Milady de Winter is mentioned.


We get swordplay and knife work, plots and counterplots, mysterious masked men, beautiful blond noblewomen, equally beautiful harlots, Italian assassins, loyal friends, deadly enemies, and (I confess I wasn’t expecting it) the Spanish Inquisition. The narrator is the orphan ward of Captain Alatriste, Inigo Balboa (it’s tempting, but I doubt we’ll later find him wandering around looking for the man who killed his father, because apparently the deed was done by an anonymous harquebusier in Flanders and not a six-fingered Count). The historical background necessary to understand what Spain was like back then is woven in seamlessly; this is frequently a stumbling block in historical novels.


I wonder if there isn’t something to Jungian archetypes after all. Is there a set of 17th century swordsman somehow built into our memories, along with naval officers of the Napoleonic Wars, a undead Transylvania count, Victorian detectives and their loyal companions, and the ancient Greek wanderer who also turns up in medieval Arabia and 1906 Dublin? Why do certain fictional or semifictional characters become mythic figures and others who are seemingly equally interesting fade away? It doesn’t seem to be the quality of the writing; Dracula, with its unfortunate epistolary style, is almost as painful to read as getting bitten in the neck; however, the Count supposedly shares with Sherlock Holmes the distinction of appearing in more movies than any other fictional character. (Triva question; what American has appeared in the most movies? Hint: Nonfictional). Similarly, the Three Musketeers are much more familiar from their movie and candy bar appearances than from the novels, which have 100 pages of French court politics for every sword fight.


I wonder if Perez-Reverte is thinking movie rights here? Although his more cerebral novels have been critically acclaimed, the only one I know of to make it to the screen is (ironically) The Club Dumas, which was filmed as The Ninth Gate after a rewrite that left nothing of the original but the character’s names. Perhaps Captain Alatriste is a roundabout way of giving Hollywood what it wants; even if so it’s still a good read. ( )
  setnahkt | Dec 6, 2017 |
Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte is an entertaining escapist story set in 17th century Spain. This historical adventure has plenty of swordplay, a nice amount of history and, since it is the first book in a series, plenty of characters to be introduced to.

The main character is an ex-soldier who now earns his living by selling his dexterity with his sword to the highest bidder. Alatriste with his many scars and melancholy manner has a warrior’s code of honor which gets him in trouble when he accepts a job to assassinate two English strangers and then during the heat of the battle, fails to follow through when one of the victims asks for mercy, not for himself but for his younger companion. The two intended victims turn out to be the English Prince Charles and the Duke of Buckingham come to Spain to hurry along the intended betrothal of the prince with the Spanish Infanta. The mysterious powers that hired him are powerful men that do not want their Catholic princess to go to the English heretics. Although Alatriste is able to escape their planned punishment in this book, he has made a couple of powerful enemies who I am sure will carry their plotting over to the next book in the series.

The author, Arturo Perez-Reverte, is well known for his admiration of Alexandre Dumas and with Captain Alatriste one finds a fun, swash-buckling story with touches of political intrigue that would sit well alongside The Three Musketeers. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 30, 2016 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Arturo Pérez-Reverteprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Peden, Margaret SayersÖversättarehuvudförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
D'Achille, GinoOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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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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