three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
21-Mar-Apr-2006
user_rating: 
0

A-PurityOfBloodYou send your daughter to a convent with expectations of angelic purity. But in 17th-century Madrid, nothing is so straightforward. Diego Alatriste, injured in the Thirty Years’ War, still has a way with a sword, though his pockets are running empty. So when he’s hired by a prominent citizen to rescue his daughter from a crooked priest running a convent-cum-seraglio, he leaps at the chance to use his skills. That the priest is threatening to out the family as less than Catholic (it’s the time of the Inquisition after all) adds an extra dose of simmer to this swashbuckling adventure tale.
Putnam. 288 Pages. $23.95. ISBN: 0399153209

Entertainment Weekly 4 of 5 Stars
"Purity of Blood is absolutely riveting from beginning to end." Tina Jordan

Time 4 of 5 Stars
"He has been known to flirt with higher literary flights … but in his hard-boiled, mordantly funny, unapologetically entertaining Captain Alatriste series … Pérez-Reverte firmly buckles on his swash and swaggers into the muddy, bloody streets of 17th century Madrid." Lev Grossman

Christian Science Monitor 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Deception and death loom, of course, but the true thrill lies in Pérez-Reverte’s deft plotting and thread-the-needle resolutions." Erik Spanberg

Detroit Free Press 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Though thrilling in places, the Alatriste stories are not meant to be raced through. This is the culture that perfected the art of strolling. The men of Madrid saunter, they swagger, they pause to compose or recite a few lines of verse, then they resume strolling right up until the moment they draw their swords, forged of the finest Toledo steel, and slash away at each other." Susan Hall-Balduf

New York Times 3.5 of 5 Stars
"On the whole, once it extricates itself from a backlog of long names and previous plot developments, Purity of Blood hits the high note of Captain Alatriste and sustains the series’ uncommon verve." Janet Maslin

Critical Summary

In yet another example of our trade deficit, the United States continues to do well by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. His books, The Club Dumas, The Seville Communion, and The Fencing Master, all translated from the Spanish, have gotten quite cozy with our domestic best-seller lists. So last year Putnam launched the Captain Alatriste series, previously published in Pérez-Reverte’s native Spain, with the first volume, Captain Alatriste ( 4 of 5 Stars Selection Sept/Oct 2005). Critics praised this second installment for its taut plotting, sense of place, and old-fashioned derring-do. Good news for fans of the series: three more installments await translation, and the author has committed to rounding it out to a lucky seven titles.