vendredi 10 novembre 2017

Captain Alatriste


Summary :

Captain Alatriste is a swordsman for hire in Spain in the 1620s - a time when Court intrigue is high and the decadent young king has dragged the country into a series of disastrous wars. As a hired 'blade', Alatriste becomes involved in many political plots and must live by his wits. He comes face to face with hired assassins, court players, political moles, smugglers, pirates and of course, the infamous Spanish Inquisition...
All the stories are told by Inigo Balboa, Alatriste's young page. The cast of characters also includes Quevedo, an irrepressible subversive poet who likes to start fights in the local tavern, the kind-hearted innkeeper and ex-prostitute who shares Alatriste's bed, the elegant Count of Guadalmedina, the beautiful but deadly Angelica de Alquezar, and a whole host of underworld figures.
Perez-Reverte wrote the Captain Alatriste series as a homage to the adventure books that had been his own initiation into the world of reading as a boy - books such as Dumas's The Three Musketeers.

My review :

Une fois n’est pas coutume, j’ai découvert le Capitaine Alatriste, il y a quelques années, via la série TV espagnole « Las aventuras del Capitán Alatriste » avec dans le rôle principal Aitor Luna et j’étais curieuse de lire les livres.
Once again, I discovered Captain Alatriste in a Spanish TV series « Las aventuras del Capitán Alatriste » starring Aitor Luna and that make me want to read the books.
He was not the most honest or pious of men, but he was courageous. His name was Diego Alatriste y Tenorio, and he had fought in the ranks during the Flemish wars. When I met him he was barely making ends meet in Madrid, hiring himself out for four maravedis in employ of little glory, often as a swordsman for those who had neither the skill nor the daring to settle their own quarrels. You know the sort I mean : a cuckolded husband here, outstanding gambling debts there, a petty lawsuit or questionable onheritance, and more troubles of that kind. It is easy to criticize now, but in those days the capital of all the Spains was a place where a man had to fight for his life on a street corner lighted by the gleam to two blades.
In all this Diego Alatriste played his part with panache.

Tout d’abord, que l’on ait aimé ou pas, le travail de l’auteur est remarquable. Il nous fait voyager  et décrit à merveille le siècle d’or espagnol.
First of all, whether we like it or not, the work of the writer is remarkable. He takes us to new places and wonderfully describes the Spanish golden age.
“Perhaps because a man's true homeland is his childhood, despite all the time that has gone by, I always remember the Tavern of the Turk with nostalgia. The place, Captain Alatriste, and those hazardous years of my boyhood are all gone now, but in the days of our Philip the Fourth, the tavern was one of four hundred in which the seventy thousand residents of Madrid could quench their thirst. That comes to about one tavern for every one hundred and seventy- five citizens. And that is not counting brothels, gaming houses, and other public establishments of, shall we say, relaxed or dubious moral ambience, which in a paradoxical, unique, and never-again-to-be the same Spain were visited as frequently as the churches - and often by the same people.”

Ensuite nous rencontrons des personnages attachants : Alatriste lui-même mais aussi notre narrateur : un adolescent que le capitaine a pris sous son aile. Tous deux vivent des aventures pleines de suspense. Malgré tout ça, on ne peut pas dire qu’il y ait beaucoup d’action dans ces pages. Peut-être dû au fait qu’il s’agit d’un premier tome et que l’auteur souhaite installer son intrigue ? Seule la lecture de la suite le dira.
Then we meet endearing characters: Alatriste himself but also our narrator, a teenager that captain took under his wing. Both live adventures full of suspense. In spite of that, there is not a whole lot of action in these pages. I suspect this is due to the fact that it’s the first book of the saga and the author wants to set his plot in place? Only reading the sequel will tell us for sure.

Pourtant le lecteur ne s’ennuie pas une seconde, l’écriture d’Arturo Perez-Reverte est pleine d’humour et de descriptions passionnantes. C’est une plaisir à lire et il me tarde de lire la suite.
Even so, the reader is not bored for a second, the writing of Arturo Perez-Reverte is full of humor and exciting descriptions. It's a pleasure to read and I cannot wait to read more.
"What news of your petition?" Vicuna asked with interest.
The poet swiped his mouth with the back of his hand. A few drops of wine had fallen on the cross of Santiago embroidered on the breast of his black sleeved doublet.
"I believe," he said "that Philip the Great is wipping his ass with it."
"That itself is an honor," Licenciado Calzas argued.
Don Francisco appropriated another jug.
"In that case" - there was a pause as he drunk - "the honor is to his royal ass. The paper was good, a half-ducat a ream. And I wrote it in my best hand."

Lu dans le cadre du challenge : 
-Read in English 

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