Midori Snyder serendipitously just posted about the Captain Alatriste novels and the Viggo Mortenson movie made from them, over on her blog In the Labyrinth.

And I just finished reading the first book of the series, Captain Alatriste.

Or rather, I just finished reading an English translation of the novel, as it is written in Spanish by Arturo Perez-Reverte.

Captain Alatriste is a swashbuckling hero-novel of historical fiction set in the Spain of the 1600’s.

I enjoyed the book. What more can you ask for then brooding, nobly-suffering heroes and a taste of history to boot?

What was most interesting for me, though, was how this novel didn’t have the long, drawn out intrigues and action scenes that a US born writer would probably have felt the need to create when telling the story of Captain Alatriste.

There’s only really two sword-fighting scenes, and one instance of intrigue, and then the rest of the novel is a description of who Captain Alatriste is, and a rumination on the pitiable state of Spanish politics; both secular and religious. The novel fairly drips with pathos.

This would probably not be allowed in a similiar book published in the States. People would tell Perez-Reverte, “don’t tell us who the character is, show us” and “not enough happens, throw in some ninjas”.

Luckily for us, the author is not constrained by US publishing tastes.

Highly Recommended for All, especially my parental units.