Purity of Blood (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Captain Alatriste, the first of Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s series of novels about a skilled but cynical swordsman, appeared in English translation in 2005. In that work Alatriste’s young Basque servant, Íñigo Balboa, introduced the captain and a small circle of friends and told a story of swordsmanship and intrigue in seventeenth century Spain. Readers learned that Alatriste was wounded during what would become known as the Thirty Years War, that his old comrades had bestowed the unofficial title “captain” upon him as a tribute to his bravery, and that subsequently he was forced to ply his sword for a living. Narrated from the apparent twilight of Íñigo’s own years, the novel suggested a string of adventures yet to come. The first such sequel, Purity of Blood, takes up where Captain Alatriste left off, with Íñigo casting several backward glances at his earlier story and looking teasingly ahead. Among several continuing motifs, Íñigo’s foolish infatuation with the beautiful Angélica de Alquézar now assumes nearly fatal proportions.
The captain’s new adventure opens on a day of bullfights in the Spanish capital of Madrid. Adding to the excitement is a grisly discovery. The corpse of a strangled woman has been found in a sedan chair before a church, her hand clutching a bag of coins to pay, says a cryptic note, for masses for her soul. Alatriste and Íñigo learn the particulars of the affair from chief...
(The entire section is 1560 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Booklist 102, no. 7 (December 1, 2005): 7.
The Christian Science Monitor, January 3, 2006, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2006, p. R10.
The New York Times 155 (January 26, 2006): E9.
The New York Times Book Review 155 (February 26, 2006): 7.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 49 (December 12, 2005): 40-41.
Time Canada 167, no. 25 (June 19, 2006): 102.
The Washington Post, March 1, 2006, p. C2.
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