cover image Pirates of the Levant

Pirates of the Levant

Arturo Pérez-Reverte, trans. From the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa, Putnam, $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-399-15664-9

In his spirited sixth outing, Pérez-Reverte's 17th-century sword-for-hire, Captain Diego Alatriste, enlists as a mercenary on the Spanish slave galley Mulata, cutting a bloody swath through the corsairs of the Mediterranean. Overshadowing battles at sea and raids on land is the escalating conflict between Alatriste and Íñigo Balboa, the captain's former page, now 17 and desiring to make his own way in the world. Though lacking the intrigue of previous installments, this episodic book moves smoothly from duel to duel and climaxes with a savage sea battle. With swords a-slashing and muskets a-blazing, Pérez-Reverte once again effortlessly channels Rafael Sabatini in this witty and—alas—final novel in a marvelous series. (Sept.)