Tuesday, July 10, 2007

There will be swordplay!

(and the winner gets a book!)

(Originally posted the afternoon of July 4. This post will be sticky.)

Recently I read Purity of Blood, the second volume in the adventures of Captain Alatriste, by Arturo Perez-Reverte. What fun!

The plot in itself is not very complicated: The Captain's services are bought to help rescue a girl from convent, for some reason or other — it doesn't really matter why. But surprise! it's a trap! Alatriste doesn't get caught, but his young charge (our narrator) does, so Alatriste must rescue him and set things right. The politics behind all the trap-setting is a bit harder to follow.

Blinded as I was by adrenaline, the details of the back-alley dealings were a bit too shrouded in shadow for me to make out clearly. But it doesn't matter! There is swordplay! Near death! Twirling moustaches! Obscene hyperbole! Eyes glinting from beneath the brims of ostentatiously plumed hats! A treacherous young woman! Inappropriate gallantry! Bad poetry! And the Spanish Inquisition!

Excerpt.
Review.

Our young narrator early makes the observation: "Never trust a man who reads only one book." Since the time I first read it, I've already quoted this line often. Of course, he means this in the context of the religious clashes on his country's soil, their proponents' absurd notion of purity.

But on a more literal level, I'd like to ensure that at least one more person reads just one more book...

I'm offering up a brand-new copy of Captain Alatriste, the first in the series (don't worry — the story in this novel stands alone). (For the record, I really enjoyed it.)

To be eligible to be entered into the drawing, leave a comment telling me what, in your opinion, is the most essential feature of a swashbuckling tale.

(International responses are both welcome and eligible. I'll accept entries until midnight, July 10.)
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