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!


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.)


Imani said...

Ooo, I love book giveaways. The most essential feature is lots of well-paced tales of derring-do. Sword fights on stairs, on cliffs, on horses, on balconies, at restaurants, leaps between buildings, pistols at dawn, perhaps a necessary left hook. And it all has to be done with style.

You make this book sound really good. I may not be able to wait until the 10th.

Bybee said...

Everything imani said, including a hint of a rakish smile on the hero's face and a perpetual sneer on the villain's.

Tim said...

That's an easy one. Regardless of what kind of action is taking place, there has to be a hero who is by all other standards a well deserving underdog. Overcoming a superior (and less deserving) foe is at the heart of any good action sequence.

© 2003-2007 M-mv said...

A purloined letter. A duplicitous lover. Fellowship. And, yes, of course -- swordplay and flesh wounds aplenty.

cipriano said...

The dictionary says that "to swashbuckle" is to "engage in daring and romantic adventures with ostentatious bravado or flamboyance."

One thinks of pirates!
All manner of mayhem. Some hero coming to the rescue.
Perhaps a damsel or two in distress?
I think of The Lord of The Rings as a swashbuckler in many ways, except for the “romantic". There is not much romance in Tolkien.
To be honest, I think of Jim Crace’s recent work, The Pesthouse, as being somewhat of a swashbuckler.
I think I am somewhat Swashbuckler Deficient.
But I want a shot at winning this Book Giveaway... just the same.
Perhaps I will thereby be healed of my swashbuckler deficiency.

stefanie said...

Oh Goodie!

There must be swordplay, nail biting suspense, near capture, hair's breadth escape, handsome, swarthy hero and a beautiful, virginal maiden in distress. Betrayal is also good to have. And a top secret hiding place. A good disguise and a loyal sidekick are also important.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, my dear....my swashbuckler is rife with [dark-eyed] mustachio-twisting rapscallions closing in on [dark-haired], heaving-breasted maidens (who deep down are rather [darkly] attracted to him); a chain of chases over [dark] land and sea and sky with a foul-mouthed quirky parrot or a chittering monkey or a shadowy raven shouting single-syllable mythic words of encouragement to the hero; at least one character with a [dark-sounding] dialect that is impossible to decipher; and miles and miles of delicious purple prose dancing a few sentences short of parody.

Tight pants, threatening black boots that "steadily advance," and lace-trimmed bodices bordering on immodesty.

Imani said...

Ok, see, I went and bought Captain Alatriste. The hardover was at bargain price for under $10!

Carrie K said...

Swordfighting while riposting verbally as well. A must.