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A Second Review Of 5th Book – The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet

El Caballero Del Jubon Amarillo which is Spanish for “The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet” is the fifth book in the Captain Alatriste novel series written by Spanish acclaimed and bestselling author Arturo Pérez-Reverte.

The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet which was published in the US and UK in 2009 was translated by Margaret Jull Costa.

This fifth book of the series continues with the adventures of the title character Captain Diego Alatriste y Tenorio who is not only a Spanish soldier but also a great man of fortune living in the 17th century. Even though Alatriste was never a true captain he was given this nickname when he was given command over his unit when the true captain got killed. Here is a review of book 5 of the Captain Alatriste series.

The Synopsis

Captain Alatriste together with Inigo

Captain Alatriste together with Inigo his young ward who has now grown to be rather handy with a sword are in Madrid. Both men walk a tightrope between their rather low status among the poetry, pomp and provocations of the many officials and cavaliers in Madrid and their strict standards of honor.

The captain starts having an affair with Maria Castro who is a famous and beautiful actress. María’s husband serves as some type of half-bitter and half-jocular pimp. Captain Alatriste is warned to stay away from Maria, since the King is the only one allowed to enjoy her favors. Being as stubborn as he is, Alatriste of course, cannot be told what to do by anyone.  Since his actions are dictated by him alone, he alienates both his enemies and friends by continuing to have an affair with the beautiful actress.

Due to his stubborn nature, the captain unfortunately becomes the perfect pawn for a plot against the royal wastrel.

An old enemy of Alatriste from the past pops up, he is the Italian mercenary Malatesta. Upon seeing each other both men know that one of them must die at the hands of the other.

The Setting

El Caballero Del Jubon Amarillo

Book 5 of the Captain Alatriste novel series  is set during the reign of King Philip IV, and a time when both domestic and foreign politics prompt men to occasionally result in assassination attempts as well as acts of violence. This book also features a golden age of Spanish literature, with authors such as Tirso de Molina and Lope de Vega playing significant roles on the periphery of the action.

Despite the crafty villains trying to implicate the Captain in vicious plots against King Philip IV, Alatriste’s gallant character is able to escape every challenge thrown at him. Throughout the book, it is his servant’s fascination with one of the court’s ladies that almost gets both men killed.  However, this fictional story is set in a world where the good guys always predictably and ultimately, and triumph over the bad ones.

The Main Characters

Captain Alatriste

Captain Alatriste who is the main character and hero of this novel is battle-hardened but has a tender heart. He is also skilled with both metaphorical and literal swords. In fact, it is Captain Alatriste’s tenderness for women that tends to result in complications with their significant others. In this case for María de Castro, the beautiful actress. 

In this book 5 review,  the Captain  is accompanied Íñigo Balboa Aguirre,  a young servant whose innocence results in  some questionable decisions which not only endanger himself but his master as well.  Íñigo’s character narrates their endeavors from the perspective of an old man who knows how the entire story from beginning to end.

The author through occasional flash-forwards lets on regarding the fate of some of the characters.

This includes the demise of Captain Alatriste, and the decline of the Spanish culture later in the century as well.

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