Pirates of the Levant

Written by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Review by Eva Ulett

The sixth novel in the Captain Alatriste series is a rousing sea adventure that takes place in the Mediterranean and the Levant. Seventeen-year-old Íñigo Balboa is serving two years in the Spanish infantry prior to being put forward by Don Francisco de Quevado for the royal couriers. Accompanied by Captain Alatriste – Spain and his love interest have grown too hot for him – Íñigo serves aboard a Spanish galley. In pursuit of enemy merchant ships and a religious war against the Moors, Íñigo gains experience in warfare on land and sea, and in matters of life and love.

Arturo Pérez-Reverte delivers a climactic battle in Pirates of the Levant that is not to be missed, but the novel is more than an excellent swashbuckler. It is also a coming of age story as Íñigo Balboa begins to see cracks in 45-year-old Captain Diego Alatriste’s armor. “I trust that Íñigo remains in good health by your side, prudently accepts your counsel, and bows to your authority,” wit de Quevado writes to the Captain. Pérez-Reverte looks seriously at aging and the plight of the career soldier in Pirates of the Levant, particularly in the Spain of 1627, where “For a Spanish soldier, his profession was his honor.”