Matthew's Reviews > Captain Alatriste

Captain Alatriste by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
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Nov 08, 2010

really liked it
Read from November 08 to 19, 2010

Thoroughly enjoyable. Perez-Reverte's books have always skirted the line between genre mystery and literature. This is not a work of exhaustively researched and exhaustively detailed historical fiction, and yet, so skillful and subtle is the author that the environment is completely convincing and enthralling. He manages to do this while telling a mystery, albeit a small one, in the same amount of space it takes many of the more long-winded historical fiction writers to clear their throats in prologue.

If you are looking for a meticulously detailed story that throws a history book full of 17th century facts at you, you might be disappointed with this book. I found its sparse setting and its subtle detail compelling. The cover shows Alatriste in shadow, and the word I kept thinking about while reading this book, was chiaroscuro, which is normally term applied to visual art. But, I think that Perez-Reverte can be said to use chiaroscuro in his subtle prose.

I have not seen the Spanish movie with Viggo Mortensen as the captain.
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message 1: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Some historical fiction writers want to show how well they researched a place or time using odd or trivial details in their descriptions that add little to the characters or story. This can be distracting but I prefer it to those writers who don't consider accuracy or the reader's intelligence important. One reason I like Anne Perry, she balances the elements of the story with historical details without being too obvious with either. Also why I can't read Emily Brightwell.


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