The first action-packed historical adventure in the internationally acclaimed Captain Alatriste series, featuring a Spanish soldier who lives as a swordsman-for-hire in 17th century Madrid. Needing gold to pay off his debts, Captain Alatriste and another hired blade are paid to ambush two travelers, stage a robbery, and give the travelers a fright. "No blood," they are told.
Then a mysterious stranger enters to clarify the job: he increases the pay, and tells Alatriste that, instead, he must murder the two travelers. When the attack unfolds, Alatriste realizes that these aren't ordinary travelers, and what happens next is only the first in a riveting series of twists and turns, with implications that will reverberate throughout the courts of Europe...
Arturo Perez-Reverte's novels have captivated readers around the world and earned him a reputation as "the master of the intellectual thriller" (Chicago Tribune). Originally a war correspondent, he now writes fiction full-time. His novels include the Captain Alatriste series, The Flanders Panel, The Club Dumas, The Fencing Master, The Seville Communion, The Nautical Chart, The Queen of the South, and What We Become. His books have been published in fifty countries.He is a member of the Spanish Royal Academy. He lives near Madrid, Spain.