June 26th, 2007

The Librarian

Alatriste, again

Have just finished Pérez-Reverte's third volume in the Alatriste series: The Sun Over Breda ... mmmmmYUM!!! Another incredible, don't-put-it-down-until-you-finish instalment, with an interesting editorial at the end: Pérez-Reverte based his hero on a real historical figure and here it is revealed that a certain fragment from the man's history believed fictional by the author himself may well have been true after all. And that's all you get, darlings ... you have to read the books ***EVIL GRIN*** (oh, okay, one little hint ... it involves a painting by Velázquez. One of the paintings in this Wikipedia entry, actually ...)

As before, I give you an excerpt that stuck with me ... a soldier's truth:

There, alone, standing before that corpse, I began to look at the world in a very different way. I knew myself in possession of a terrible truth that until that instant I had intuited only in Captain Alatriste's glaucous gaze: He who kills from afar knows nothing at all about the act of killing. He who kills from afar derives no lesson from life or from death; he neither risks nor stains his hands with blood, nor hears the breathing of his adversary, nor reads the fear, courage, or indifference in his eyes. He who kills from afar tests neither his arm, his heart, nor his conscience, nor does he create ghosts that will later haunt him every single night for the rest of his life. He who kills from afar is a knave who commends to others the dirty and terrible task that is his own. He who kills from afar is worse than other men, because he does not know anger, loathing, and vengeance, the terrible passion of flesh and of blood as they meet steel, but he is equally innocent of pity and remorse. For that reason, he who kills from afar does not know what he has lost.