Captain Alatriste

Captain Alatriste

"Captain Alatriste" ( _es. "El capitán Alatriste") is a series of novels by Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte. It deals with the adventures of the title character, a Spanish soldier living in the 17th century.


# ("Captain Alatriste", 1996; UK & USA 2005): In 1623, Diego Alatriste and Italian sword-for-hire Gualterio Malatesta are paid by two mysterious masked characters to kill a pair of unknown English visitors in Madrid.
# ("Purity of Blood", 1997; UK & USA 2006): Madrid, 1623. A woman is found murdered in front of a church. Later, Quevedo seeks help from Alatriste to rescue a girl forced to enter in a convent; meanwhile Alatriste's young squire Íñigo Balboa deepens his infatuation with the adolescent maidservant of the Queen, Angélica de Alquézar.
# ("The Sun over Breda", 1998; UK & USA, 2007): Spanish Netherlands, 1624–1625. Alatriste and Íñigo join the Spanish Army and fight in the war against Dutch rebels, in particular the siege of Breda.
# ("The King's Gold", 2000; USA 2008): Seville, 1626. After their participation in the Flanders War, Alatriste and Íñigo return to Spain, where they become involved into an affair involving a ship full of gold newly arrived from the Indies.
# (Not translated into English yet, "The Knight in the Yellow Jerkin" 2003): Back in Madrid, Alatriste initiates a relationship with the famous actress María de Castro. However, he will encounter a rival for her affections amidst new intrigues at Court.
# (Not translated into English yet, "Corsairs of the Levant" (2006): Alatriste and Íñigo go through different adventures along the Mediterranean coast, from Southern Spain to Turkey.Projected novels, according to the book sleeves:
# _es. "El puente de los asesinos" ("The Bridge of the Assassins")
# _es. "La venganza de Alquézar" ("Alquézar's Vengeance")
# _es. "Misión en París" ("Mission in Paris")

A movie based on the series, titled "Alatriste", was released in September 1 2006, starring Viggo Mortensen.

The series started as Pérez-Reverte was disappointed with the lack of treatment of the history of the Spanish Golden Century in the school textbook of his teenaged daughter Carlota. He commissioned Carlota to gather documentation for him (hence, she is billed as co-author of the first novel) and developed the stories.Pérez-Reverte is influenced by the works of many novelists, in particular 19th-century writers like Alexandre Dumas, and his D'Artagnan Romances. He also applies the dark tone of his experiences as a war reporter.

The period settings allows him to insert references to the authors and artists of the time, one of the most important in Spanish history.He reflects on Spain and the Spaniards as a people united that, in spite of being at war with all the major European powers, are capable of showing bravery and honour.

List of main characters

* Captain Diego Alatriste y Tenorio (1582–1643?), Leonese soldier since he was 13. Never an official captain, he earned the nickname when he had to briefly take command of his unit after their real captain was killed. He survives in peacetime as a sword for hire in Madrid. His name comes from Sealtiel Alatriste, Pérez-Reverte's Mexican publisher and friend, and from the legendary Don Juan Tenorio.
* Íñigo Balboa y Aguirre (1610–?), the young Basque squire of Alatriste. He is the son of Lope Balboa, who was an old friend and comrade of Alatriste.
* Angélica de Alquézar (c.1611–c.1640), Aragonese lady in the Queen's Court, niece of Luis de Alquézar, inspired by Dumas' Milady de Winter. As a running joke or irony she constantly mispronounces the name Alatriste, calling the captain "Batriste", "el triste" (sad man), or other variations.
* Luis de Alquézar (c.1570–?), Royal secretary of Aragonese origin.
* Francisco de Quevedo (1580–1645), famous, talented and ironic poet of the period, and friend of Alatriste.
* Gualtiero Malatesta, a swordfighter from Palermo.
* Emilio Bocanegra, dominican friar and president of the Holy Inquisition Tribunal.
* Álvaro Luis Gonzaga de la Marca y Álvarez de Sidonia, Count of Guadalmedina. He is a friend of Alatriste and helps him while keeping the class distance.
* Martín Saldaña, former soldier and comrade of Alatriste, now lieutenant of "alguaciles" ("Police" of the period) in Madrid.
* Lope Balboa (c.1575–1621), former Alatriste's comrade and father of Íñigo Balboa.
* María de Castro, a famous actress from Madrid.
* Caridad la Lebrijana, Alatriste's mistress and the owner of "The Turk's Tavern", his main residence in Madrid.
* Ambrosio Spínola (1569–1630), Genoese military under Spanish command and governor of Milan.
* Gurriato(?–1643): A Moor tribesman of Oran, he joined Alatriste and others after been baptized 'Gurriato' being his original name Aixa Ben Gurriat from the Beni Barrani tribe, Alatriste and Iñigo meet him in the last book 'Corsarios de Levante'
* Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel, Count-Duke of Olivares (1587–1645), was King Philip IV's chief minister and the most powerful man in Spain next to the king himself. By 1643, with disasters befalling Spain, the conde de Olivares was dismissed.
* King Philip IV of Spain (1605–1665) was intelligent, but lacked interest in the affairs of state, which were handled (until 1643) by the conde de Olivares. During his reign, Spain continued to decline politically and economically.
* Félix Lope de Vega y Carpio (1562–1635), famous Spanish writer.
* Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599–1660), famous Spanish painter (not yet very established at the time of the first novels). Thanks to the presence of Velázquez at his court, Philip IV was probably one of the most frequently portrayed monarchs in history.

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