RARA-AVIS: Perez-Reverte's noir swashbucklers

From: William Denton ( wtd@pobox.com)
Date: 16 Feb 2006

The TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT (20 Jan 2006) ran a review by one Michael Saler of two new translations of swashbucklers by Arturo Perez-Reverte: CAPTAIN ALATRISTE and THE PURITY OF BLOOD. (There's an acute accent on the first e in "Perez" I can't manage.)

"The first sentence of CAPTAIN ALATRISTE (2005) suggests a hardboiled viewpoint: 'He was not the most honest or pious of men, but he was courageous.' Melancholy, taciturn, stoical and pragmatic, the middle-aged Diego Alatriste is more akin to Sam Spade than d'Artagnan. There is a femme fatale, Angelica Alquezar, described as 'the most beautiful, the most intelligent, the mots seductive, and the most evil'; other characters wouldn't look out of place in Hammett or Chandler: 'the poet had been standing, cape collars up and hat brims down to the eyebrows, a look very much in style.'"

Saler ends with "In other words, all against one, and one against all: a noir swordsman for our times."

I remember some talk years ago about an earlier Perez-Reverte novel which was held up as hardboiled, but didn't much grab me. Someone later left in a huff over this. Anyone read any of this series about Alatriste? It sounds great.



William Denton : Toronto, Canada : www.miskatonic.org : www.frbr.org

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