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The Sun Over Breda
The Adventures of Captain Alatriste Book III

by Arturo Perez-Reverte

      Iñigo Balboa and Captain Alatriste swap the streets of Madrid for the muddy, bloody killing fields of Flanders in this third entry in the acclaimed series. Iñigo hasn’t been to war before, and is kept busy as a humble mochilero (soldier’s page) for Alatriste. He gets to see it all - the battles, the mutinies, the sackings, the triumphs and defeats, and the siege of Breda at first hand, invaluable years later to painter Velasquez. He has his own correspondence to deal with too, both with the evil Angélica de Alquézar and reading Quevedo’s mail, whose star is in the ascendant at court and who can keep them posted as to the movements of their enemies.

As usual, if you are still expecting Boy’s Own stuff where right always triumphs over might and the hero gets his reward then you are in the wrong century and reading the wrong book. But we are modern adults, we can take it and the fact that these books are bestsellers shows us that the world loves Captain Alatriste. Maybe that is the best way of describing these books, derring-do for the modern reader who wants it told like it was, and Perez-Reverte always delivers the goods. He delivers them on more than one level too, as there is surely enough of battles and sieges in here to satisfy the closet swashbuckler in all of us at the most basic level. There is also a compelling picture of the actualities of war that would give a war correspondent a run for their money and an ignominious glimpse at the end of Spain’s golden age. Laced with enough poetry to make it appeal to those who like their novels literary and an exhaustive knowledge of 17th century warfare, this is going to appeal to a wide range of readers. If you like O’Brien and Cornwell, this is going to hit the spot.

The Book

Weidenfeld & Nicolson (Orion)
March 2007
Historical Adventure - 1625, Flanders
More at US|| UK
NOTE: Amazon US edition is different
Some violence

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2006