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Siege: A Novel

by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Library Journal The best-selling author of The Club Dumas and the Captain Alatriste series returns with this colorful tale of antiheroes, class boundaries, and love and war played out on the chessboard that is the Spanish port city of Cádiz in 1811. The town is besieged on the outside by Napoleon's army and torn from within by the political conflict between the royalists loyal to the captured King Fernando VII and constitutionalists at work in the parliament. Meanwhile, the city fills with the disenfranchised, the poor and wounded, and refugees of all classes, while smugglers and spies make profits and a killer walks its war-torn streets. The ever-present and dangerous police commissioner Rogelio Tizón relentlessly pursues a murderer who barbarously tortures his victims to death. No woman is safe from the killer, and no man is safe from Tizón. Verdict Pérez-Reverte expertly details a suspenseful game between two expert players set against the dramatic backdrop of a city under siege. The author's many fans won't be disappointed. [See Prepub Alert, 5/12/14.]-Michelle Martinez, Sam Houston State Univ. Lib., Huntsville, TX (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Pirates; serial killings; steamy, unrequited love: Prez-Reverte (Pirates of the Levant, 2010, etc.) imbues the sensational with significance. It's 1811, and as Napoleon's army relentlessly shells the port of Cdiz, Spain, the city finds itself the target of a much more sinister presence. A shadowy figure is brutally murdering young women, and as amoral policeman Rogelio Tizn stalks this prey, he begins to realize that the murders and the French bombs are somehow intertwined. At the same time, the handsome Lolita Palma, upstanding owner of a shipping company, agrees to do business with corsair Pp Lobo and soon finds herself drawn to his rough charms. And a mysterious taxidermist sends a secret carrier pigeon to a French captain, adding one more pin to his map of bombs. As Napoleon's war rages on, the world finds itself in a vortex of change, with science competing against faith and tradition to help create a new world order. Prez-Reverte begins with several different strands of story and weaves them into a rather impressive web. The level of detail is meticulous but also beautiful; his descriptions of the town and people of Cdiz capture colors, smells and personalities, making the page come to life, and he balances these sensory passages with dense observations about history, metaphysics, science and human nature. Whether the brutality of the murderer, and in fact of the war, is a result of "the imagination [running] out of control" or "atmospheric conditions" doesn't ultimately matter to the story. Prez-Reverte presents a chessboard on which the epic battle of science and fate becomes the story. In the end, it's about "the dark chasms of the human mind," a timeless theme if ever there was one. A genre-bending literary thriller worth the time. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list Pérez-Reverte writes two kinds of novels: richly detailed historical thrillers (The Nautical Chart, 2001) and swashbuckling adventures (Pirates of the Levant, 2010). Lately, he has been sticking to the latter, but here he combines both forms in a complex, history-drenched tale of the siege of Cádiz by the French in the early nineteenth century. The action takes place in 1812, with the port of Cádiz, nicely protected by water, remaining unconquered as Napoleon's forces sweep across Spain. Pérez-Reverte tracks multiple characters on both French and Spanish sides, focusing on two stories: the attempts of ruthless police commissioner Rogelio Tizón to find a serial killer, who is preying on young women, and the travails of businesswoman Lolita Palma to manage her dead father's shipping business in the face of the French blockade and bombing of the city. With grave misgivings, Palma agrees to fund a Spanish corsair (pirate ship) to raid French ships along the coast, and so she comes in contact with Pépé Lobo, the ship's captain, to whom she is immediately attracted. There may be a little too much going on here the density of both the prose and the story lines can seem almost suffocating at times but there is no denying the author's ability to build character, evoke landscape, and communicate the crush of history on individual lives. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Pérez-Reverte, an international best-seller and a favorite among booksellers and librarians, has not had a new book since 2010 and will attract plenty of attention with this one.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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