cover image Soldados de Salamina: Soldiers of Salamis

Soldados de Salamina: Soldiers of Salamis

Javier Cercas. TusQuets, $20.95 (216pp) ISBN 978-84-8310-161-2

Spanish writer and journalist Cercas received the prestigious Premio Librero de Narrativa for this historical novel about the failed execution of Rafael S nchez Mazas, one of the intellectual architects of Spanish fascism. In the novel, a journalist by the name of Javier Cercas investigates how S nchez Mazas escaped a firing squad in 1939 and hid in the woods when the defeat of the Republic was imminent. The journalist also describes S nchez Mazas's fate as a writer and intellectual at a time when the role of fascism was beginning to decline within Franco's government. Even though Cercas does not make a direct reference to Aeschylus's The Persians [available in Spanish in Tragedias, Gredos, 1993 Ed.] about the defeat of Persian soldiers at Salamis in 480 B.C.E. it may well have influenced the novel. Just as Aeschylus laments the fate of the Persian victims, Cercas too grieves for the defeated, in particular for anonymous characters who fought fascism on many fronts, like Antoni Miralles, the loyalist soldier who saved S nchez Mazas's life. The novel, which has already gone through 12 editions in Spain, contains a suspenseful historical investigation and philosophical reflection on the differences between fiction and history. Highly recommended for academic libraries that collect contemporary Spanish historical fiction. Mary Sarko, Madison, WI