Pirates of the Levant by Arturo Perez-Reverte
It is 1627. Captain Alatriste and his young protege, Inigo Balboa--now both soldiers of Spain--find themselves assigned to the Spanish naval infantry, serving on privateer vessels based out of Naples. The Spanish ships prowl the Mediterranean, competing with the other political powers of the region. Of course, they are privateers, operating with the blessing of the Spanish King, and all the other European powers are pirates.
And then there are the Turks--the Muslims and the Catholic Spanish are eternal enemies.
There is not a straight plot through-line in this novel, other than the dramatic tension of Inigo and Alatriste being at odds with each other as the young man tries the establish his own identity. Otherwise, the story is episodic naval adventures highlighting the breadth and scope of the Mediterranean in the early 1600s.
At first I thought having Alatriste become a Marine was a forced excuse to write a pirate novel. But as usual, Perez-Reverte's historical veracity pulled me into the story in short time. PIRATES OF THE LEVANT is as fun, exciting, and historically interesting as any of the other Alatriste titles. If you're a fan of the series, you shouldn't be disappointed in this one, either.
|Gratuitous UK cover, because I like them more than the photo US covers|
If you've been following my Captain Alatriste reviews, you'll notice I've jumped over THE CAVALIER IN THE YELLOW DOUBLET. That's because it wasn't on audio, so I skipped ahead. The novels can be read out of order. I'll double-back soon enough.
Maybe by then, El puente de los asesinos, (THE BRIDGE OF ASSASSINS,) the (currently) last Alatriste novel will finally get an English translation.