The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet

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However, this being Spain as recreated by Perez-Reverte, plots hatch quicker then chicks from a hen's eggs. Spain in the seventeenth century is a dangerous place even for those God has set higher than the commonality, and there's always a faction looking to find a way to increase their power at the point of a sword even if it means regicide.

The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet

What better way to throw the scent off the real criminals than to make Philip's death appear to be the work of a lover whose affections are overthrown by a beautiful woman so that she could dally with the King instead? However, not even the Count is able to see through the mists of deception that hang over Madrid this season. For although word has reached his ear of a plot against the King, he is of course not privy to the form or shape it would take. For how could anyone, unless gifted with an ability to peek through the curtain of time, been able to foretell what was in store for all concerned?

Plots using beautiful women as bait succeed where others might fail, for the principals, blinded to their surroundings, are fortunate to even see the sword that impales them. The Cavalier In The Yellow Doublet is the fifth recounting of the adventures of Captain Alatriste to be translated from the tongue of Kings into heretical English, but even this can do nothing to diminish the shining light that is the talent of Aturo Perez-Reverte.

While in the hands of some lesser writers the protagonist of a series of books may start to take on mythic qualities, the Captain's metamorphosis takes a far different direction.

Honour and pride, virtues in some instances, can also prove one's undoing, especially when combined with a streak of stubbornness which prevents a man from retreating from an untenable position. Unfortunately, sometimes a man is placed in circumstance where his choices are taken away from him, and in those instances his darker side is revealed. When wine and anger form an unholy alliance in Alatriste's woe be any who happen to catch his eye in the wrong way, or even by chance, as he proves when he casually picks a fight with a lout in a bar and with equal casualness runs steel through his heart.

True, the fates had made it seem like his friends had all turned against him, and he was being denied what little joy he could get from life by the very person, the King, for whom he had risked his life time and time again in battlefields across Europe and the allies of Madrid.

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To be so discarded, and thought so little of must have galled a man of such pride, but to go out and commit murder because of it — well that paints a picture of a man inside whom dark forces are at work. Who knows what awaits our Captain in the future, only God and Arturo Perez-Reverte know for sure, but one thing is definite, neither redemption nor peace will ever come easily for one such as he. Deftly written, with pinches of humour and snatches or ribald poetry scattered throughout to lighten some of the darkness, Perez-Reverte, continues the adventures of Captain Alatriste and Inigo with his usual aplomb and skill.

As is usual, half the fun lie in his descriptions of life in Madrid in the waning days of Spain's imperial might.

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However, like Alatriste himself, when it's time to get down to the business at hand he once again proves there is no one cooler under fire. His plots, while complicated, are never convoluted, and we walk down the same paths as his characters, only hoping to find our way out in time to save our necks. For those who have grown tired of the romantic view of history so common in fiction, these books are the perfect antidote as Perez-Reverte does not shirk from showing the foul with the sweet.


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Very little separates the heroes and the villains in these books in terms of character and motivation save for the side on which they are fighting. Error rating book.


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Refresh and try again. Matt 's review Oct 04, This is in some ways the best written of the Alatriste books that I've read so far, but it's not the most enjoyable.

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Perez-Reverte continues his tradition of using each book to comment on a specific aspect of the culture of the time, and in this book he takes on one of the biggest, honor codes. I don't want to give spoilers, but the book portrays several very clear examples of just how much an honor code society can trap people into attitudes and behaviors that they don't really want to engage in, unintended hostilities, and behaviors that completely contradict any self-interested survival instinct. I have two quibbles though, one is so spoiler-ridden that I hesitate to describe it in any way other than what felt like a failure of commitment by Perez-Reverte, and the other is Joseph Conrad's The Duel, which dealt with a similar subject matter of honor codes in a much more powerful and eloquent way.

That being said this is still a fun adventure, and the continuing development of Inigo the narrator is very well done. We're far enough along in the books where the events that he has been foreshadowing in the past books are starting to crop up with more frequency, and it's a lot of fun to recognize them when they happen. Reading Progress. October 16, — Shelved as: historical-fiction.

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October 16, — Shelved as: in-translation. Add a reference: Book Author.