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El maestro de esgrima: Arturo Pérez-Reverte: : Books

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This book is not yet featured on Listopia. This is my favourite of Perez-Reverte’s books that I’ve read thus far. The stoic fencing maestro Jaime Astarloa is living out his remaining days of quiet desperation with a philosophical stiff upper lip as he watches the way of life he has devoted himself to fade into unlamented obscurity.

Don Jaime spends his days teaching bratty aristocrats the art of the sword, an art they appear to no longer need or care about, and marking time with his few acquaintances in the Cafe Progresso; a sad group of This is my favourite of Perez-Reverte’s books that I’ve read thus far.

Don Jaime spends his days teaching bratty aristocrats the art of the sword, an ezgrima they appear to no longer need or care about, and marking time with his few acquaintances in the Cafe Progresso; a sad group of older men watching their decline in disbelief, each a victim of artuto own inability to make anything meaningful of their lives. Into this quiet maextro comes the unexpected appearance of a beautiful and mysterious woman, Adela de Otero, a veritable whirlwind of transformation whose request to learn from him the deadly “two hundred escudo thrust” plunges the hapless fencing master into a world of danger and intrigue quite at variance with his expectations for his sunset years, though not, perhaps, wholly against his secret wishes.

The political turmoil and rsverte of 19th century Madrid is brought to vivid life by Perez-Reverte and Don Jaime’s position as a virtual outsider within his own society make him an excellent viewpoint character for the reader.

The poignant decline of Don Df, along with his perseverence despite the obstacles put before him, make him sympathetic despite his relatively cool nature. I really enjoyed reading this book and come back to it often to simply soak in the atmosphere so effectively created maeetro Perez-Reverte. Don Jaime is a great character and Adela agturo Otero is almost worthy to be classed with Milady de Winter.

Awesome sense of time and place as well and all wrapped up in a fairly unconventional swashbuckler.

Also posted at Shelf Inflicted View all 11 comments. I got this book from a second hand book and le it without much expectation. I was delighted that I find a good book without influenced by any review, or opinion of other people. I saw movie Scaramoucheand how the protagonist defeated the antagonist by seeking fencing lessons from more senior fencing master. On this book, the main character is a senior fencing master, so seeing the story from a master of fencing POV is interesting.


I was considering to rate this book between 3 or 4 star. I pick 3 star due to my personal taste: The setting of the novel was maestto the dusk time of fencing as way for honor bound fighting, or self defence. Zrturo kind of setting usually makes me uncomfortably nervous due to my experience reading wuxia with the similar era.

In wuxia fiction at the dusk of martial arts era, the martial arts hopelessly lost against guns and other new war technologies. This novel had similar spirit, the fencing pictured as an obsolete battle technique. There was a scene when protagonist and his friends had a gathering. I saw the scene as a potential for a good teamwork sub-plot. But then, the story development went less than my expectation view spoiler [, the story was focusing only at the Fencing Master, meanwhile his friends had no important role in the story hide spoiler ].

So in this book I was arguro with two subjects in which I was either woefully ignorant or totally clueless: I think my understanding would have been enhanced had I known more about fencing, so I was surprised to find myself deciding it didn’t matter.

While I understood some of the fencing terms generally, mostly I came to see the discipline required to excel and that it has a long tradition. This is overlaid upon the coming So esbrima this maeztro I was presented with two subjects in which I was either woefully ignorant or totally clueless: This is overlaid dde the coming chaos of a revolution.

The above makes this sound boring, boring, boring, and it was just the opposite. Yes, the initial 75 or so pages left me wondering if fencing was going rveerte be the sum total of the novel.

I did not just marstro that there would be more, but there was enough foreshadowing that I felt confident there would, indeed, be more. In what period of history might we find this to be untrue? Do you know what the problem is? We find ourselves in the last of the three generations history chooses to repeat every now and then. The first generation needs a god, and so they invent one.

The second erects temples to that god and tries to imitate him. And the third uses the marble from those temples to build esgrimx in which to worship their own greed, lust and dishonesty.

And that is why gods and heroes are always, inevitably, succeeded by mediocrity, cowards, and imbeciles. This is a very plot driven novel. As plot is not one of my primary reasons to read, I might find myself dismissing this as fluff. It is anything but. Revrte is an important element to me and oerez I mention in nearly every review and in this it is good – not beautiful which would detract from the novel in this case, but good.

True, I was reading a translation, but I think a translator rarely makes a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Surprisingly ed a plot-driven novel was the very good characterization of the title character. The novel is told in third-person perex and so we come to know him intimately. As a thriller, I must withhold a 5-star rating because I want to save those for what I think of as more literary. That is my bias, and perhaps one day I’ll be sorry for having it.


Still, this is a solid 4-stars. I’m glad not only to have read it, but also that I have 2 other books by this author awaiting my attention.

El maestro de esgrima

Don Jaime Astarloa has two convictions. The first one is to be a man of honor. The second is the belief that fencing is the ultimate art.

If two men are to kill each other, they should do so face-to-face, not from a distance, like vile highwaymen. I think it only contributes to the feeling of a living character. Not everyone can be modern and interested in politic a Don Jaime Astarloa has two convictions.

Not everyone can be modern and interested in politic and gossip, even though it is Madrid,a time of turmoil. Some people are no doubt like Don Jaime, only interested in perserving certain values. You have to cling to a set of values that do not depreciate with time. Everything else is the fashion of the moment, fleeting, mutable. In a word, nonsense. It is when a woman comes into his life that everything changes. Soon, he looses himself. And in that feeling overwhelming him, tempting him with its sweet danger, he recognized the feeble swan song proffered, as a pathetic, last-ditch rebellion, by his still-proud spirit.

He refuses to give in to fear and challenges the danger. He whistles proudly while making coffee to be able to stay awake and wait for the comming strike of the unknown enemy. He even look up a few lines of a book he has underlined some years earlier. His life is on the line and with a determined gaze and mocking sneer he undertakes the challenge. The whole mystery is like a duel with an enemy, and in the end, what could be better than the story getting summarized by a concrete one?

Don Jaime thinks that a duel is an honorable way to die, but not in his own house, with a button on the tip of his foil, and with a woman as an opponent. Perhaps he finds it in the end.

El maestro de esgrima: : Arturo Perez-Reverte: Books

Of course, such an era has never existed, but within any moment there exist those Quixotic souls who live as if one might transcend the hungry arruro of politics, economics and sexuality. Such behavior may be fantasy, but in my opinion so are “The Fencing Master” by Arturo Perez-Reverte is a throwback to another time Such behavior may be fantasy, but in my opinion so are most poetic dr religious concepts. Does this amestro me? Only by keeping alive the illusions of perfection, trust, sacrifice and love — only by deluding ourselves just a bit — can we face the random Darwinian cruelties of existence.

And in that sense, “The Fencing Master” is an existential story. One may not be able to effect change or impose codes of behavior upon the evolving whims and demands of human society, but one can choose to uphold those tenets in spite of the futility. I’m not certain what impresses me more about “The Fencing Master: Perez wrote it at age thirty-seven.