I stumbled across Captain Alatriste by accident at Trident Books on Newbury St. in Boston. It was just chillin’ on one of their promotional shelves you see as you first walk in. Naturally — being the history and swashbuckling buff that I am — was instantly intrigued by the cover — a man mostly in shadow with a wide brim hat low over his eyes and holding a rapier reflecting light. It was simple looking but illustrated the mystery and suspense of the novel pretty well. I was hooked to the series within the first few pages and finished book within a day or so. They’re fast reads. Thankfully Purity of Blood was already out, so my Alatriste addiction was met.
After that it was the painful process of waiting for Putnam to translate the rest of the novels into English. There are six books out in total and I hope Arturo writes more.
Several years back the books were turned into a movie, Alatriste. I can’t remember if it ever got limited release here in the US, but you can purchase a copy of the DVD. You’ll just need to hack your DVD player or have a Region Free DVD player to watch it. It stars Viggo Mortensen as the Spanish sword-for-hire hero. It was a good move, despite them trying to cram six books into one film. The fights are some of the more realistic swordplay you’ll find in a movie and the scenes are lighted and shot like the paintings of the era. It’s beautifully done. Despite some of it’s flaws (Pro tip: Don’t try to stuff six books into one movie, people), I still love it and am on my second DVD since I burned through the first one (Whoops!).
The sword and dagger I use when fencing in the SCA is based off Alatriste’s weapon set from the movie… soooo yea… huge Alatriste nerd over here…
So you can now imagine my surprise and excitement when I found out yesterday that Spain is producing TV series based off the novels, unsurprisingly entitled Alatriste. Season 1 is slated to be 13 episodes long and is due out in 2014. Of course, you need to be in Spain to watch this show, so let’s all move to Spain for a little while or hope we can find a stream online. I’m also having my fingers crossed for the series to come out on DVD because I NEED MORE ALATRISTE IN MY LIFE.
If you’re hoping and praying that Viggo will done his large mustache and wide-brim hat once more, we’re sorry to say you’ll be disappointed. That honor will go to Aitor Luna, who pulls off the Captain Alatriste look pretty well. Miguel Hermoso will play the poet swordsman Don Fransisco de Quevedo. In fact, the entire casting looks pretty great with the exception of Filippo Sbalchiero as the nefarious Gualterio Malatesta. He looks neither dangerous nor wicked, and nothing like the sketches of Malatesta, but we shall see (or so I hope we’ll get to see).
I haven’t found much about the series so far. Just the IMDB page and a few stories in Spanish. Here’s what one had to say (thanks to Google Translate and cleaned up by me, so it’s not going to be perfect):
It’s said that Perez-Reverte approved the scripts, and José Manuel Lorenzo (producer) and Alberto Macías (screenwriter) were so amazed at Aitor Luna’s performance in the first episode, Lorenzo, said: “It has made me forget Viggo Mortensen for five minutes.” (we assume that no offense Mortensen). Do not forget the failure of Diaz Yanes film in 2006 was almost entirely because of the script, for staging, and music performances were at the height of a production line novels. It has also been Pérez-Reverte who has given final approval to the division.
Gotta love when a production company gives the original author some creative control. He created the characters. The universe. The plots. No one knows them in or out better than Arturo, so letting him approve scripts is the smart move. But don’t expect a 100% perfect book to television adaption. From Vanitatis:
“During the first season might appear a character in the fourth book without problems. The only character that has to be a true reflection of the books is Alatriste,” says Lorenzo.
And a little more:
In a closed set of 6,000 square meters and a backlot 8,000 outside, the art team has recreated the streets of Seventeenth Century Madrid: Real Alcazar, the headquarters of the Inquisition, the hangout for San Felipe, the walls and gateways to the town, the palaces of Guadalmina and Alquézar, the Taberna del Turco, Quevedo’s house, a corral of comedies, one silver … But also the luxurious palaces of Rome and Paris where part of the plot develops.
In addition, the crew includes than 50 specialists to recreate stunts, riding, and sword fighting , and more than 2,500 extras to recreate the atmosphere of the streets of Madrid.
There’s also this story, but it’s all in Spanish and Google wasn’t able to translate it. But in case you read Spanish, enjoy… and let me know what it says.
Alatriste is due out Spring 2014. If the audience enjoys the series it’ll get signed to a full four other seasons, so we may get to see every book done more or less. Lorenzo says they already have ideas for Season II, so here’s fingers crossed.