Reviewed by Michele Heather Pollock
The Sun Over Breda is the third book in the adventures of Captain Alatriste, a mercenary swordsman in seventeenth-century Spain. In this book, Captain Alatriste rejoins his Cartagena regiment. It is the time of the Spanish Inquisition, and Alatriste goes off to fight for his king and for Catholic Spain against the “heretics” of the Netherlands in the siege of Breda.
As in the two earlier books, you follow Captain Alatriste through the narration of his adopted “son,” fifteen-year-old Inigo Balboa, who enlists in the army as Alatriste’s aide. Inigo’s is an interesting voice, and you read about skirmishes, raids and fear through his eyes, which have never before seen war, and struggle with the desire to both be a full adult (carrying weapons and fighting) and to flee the violence. His love for the mysterious (an mysteriously evil) Angelica grows, and this book hints at further adventures to come for Inigo.
Captain Alatriste is a likeable, if imperfect, hero. He struggles with his changing responsibilities toward Inigo, and wavers between real affection for the boy and regret that he is no longer truly alone in the world, with nothing to lose. After all, a mercenary with emotional ties to another human being is a mercenary with an Achilles’ heel.
This third installment is as adventure-filled as the first two, full of swordplay and honor defended, chivalry and loyalty to ideals and nation, and, of course, nemeses and power struggles. This book is perhaps an even better read than Captain Alatriste and Purity of Blood, since now that you know the characters better, you can more fully enjoy their personalities and relationships to each other.
It is necessary to read the first two books in the series before picking up The Sun over Breda, but, if swashbuckling adventure stories are your kind of thing, it’s well worth the trouble.
Armchair Interviews says: Read these enjoyable, thrilling and freewheeling books in order in this series for the fullest pleasure.
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