In Madrid In , Fencing Master And Man Of Honor Don Jaime Is Approached By A Mysterious Woman Who Seeks To Learn The Unstoppable Thrust, An Arcane Technique Known Only To Him All Too Soon He Finds Himself In The Vortex Of A Plot That Includes Seduction, Secret Political Documents, And Than One Murder Rich With Historical Detail Of A Decaying World That Agonizes As Does The Art Of Fencing Itself Over The Ideals Of Honor And Chivalry, The Fencing Master Is Superb Literature And A True Page Turner


10 thoughts on “El maestro de esgrima

  1. says:

    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 older men watching their decline in disbelief, each a victim of their own inability to make anything meaningful of their lives Into this quiet decline 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 colour 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 Jaime, 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 by Perez Reverte April 2012 re read Still love it Don Jaime is a great character and Adela de 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


  2. says:

    This book is my first read of Arturo P rez Reverte I got this book from a second hand book and read 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 Scaramouche 1952 , and how the protagonist defeated the antagonist by seeking fencing lessons from 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 1 The setting of the novel was at the dusk time of fencing as way for honor bound fighting, or self defence This 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.2 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


  3. says:

    So in this book I was presented with two subjects in which I was either woefully ignorant or totally clueless the art of fencing and an 1868 Spanish overthrow of Queen Isabell II I think my understanding would have been enhanced had I known 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 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 to be the sum total of the novel I did not just hope that there would be , but there was enough foreshadowing that I felt confident there would, indeed, be 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 brothels 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 Prose is an important element to me and which 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 in a plot driven novel was the very good characterization of the title character The novel is told in third person limited 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 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.


  4. says:

    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 The pistol is not a weapon, it is an impertinence If two men are to kill each other, they should do so face to face, not from a distance, like vile highwaymen Many people would describe Don Jaime as pompous with his old fashioned believes I think it only contributes to the feeling of a living character Not everyone can be modern and interested in politic and gossip, even though it is Madrid, 1868, a time of turmoil Some people are no doubt like Don Jaime, only interested in perserving certain values I have spent my whole life trying to preserve a certain idea of myself, and that is all 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 When Don Jaime, unwillingly, becomes involved in a complicated mystery and realizes someone is after him, he doesn t have a clue what s going on It is when a woman comes into his life that everything changes The fact that he doesn t teach women is according to custom of the time, a view he eventually realizes can be changed, as other men have Soon, he looses himself The picture of anguished produced by his feelings for Donna Adela de Otero is beautifully painted by P rez Reverte He smiled, thinking about himself, about his own image, about his now declining powers, about his spirit, which, though old and tired, in some way was rebelling against the indolence imposed on it by the slow degeneration of his physical organism 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 Things start to happen around him and he, usually detached from the world and living only for fencing, is suddenly struggling with a feeling of foreboding, of something he should know but doesn t and therefore could be dangerous 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 With some irony he leaves it open as the perfect epitaph Any moral character is closely bound up with scenes of autumn those leaves that fall like our years, those flowers that fade like our hours, those clouds that flee like our illusions, that light that grows ever feebler like our intelligence, that sun that grows colder like our loves, those rivers that freeze over like our life, all weave secret bounds with our fate En garde This isn t just a mystery It s about a man that finally gets to put his long time art into real practice 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 Spoilers 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 That, he refuses And what s , he s not ready to die, because he s not yet discovered the perfect thrust Perhaps he finds it in the end.


  5. says:

    The Fencing Master by Arturo Perez Reverte is a throwback to another time in fact, even within the 1868 time setting of the story, the protagonist a fencing master, go figure is a throwback to another time, an era of pure honor and purer scruples 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 groveling of politics, economics and sexuality.Such behavior may be fantasy, but in my opinion so are most poetic and religious concepts Does this worry me Not terribly Anyone who has loved Don Quixote, The Lord of the Rings, The Old Man and the Sea, and so many will understand what I m trying to describe 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 about The Fencing Master that the book is so good, or that Sr Perez wrote it at age thirty seven Precocious fellow Hats off to Margaret Jull Costa for this exquisite translation from the original Spanish.


  6. says:

    Okay, first off I went into this book with no great expectations I picked it up on impulse, in a random kindle sale, intending to save it as light reading for the first time I go to the beach, whenever that will be I knew I was probably the wrong audience and that there were likely to be things that d piss me off, but whatever Give me historical fiction about fencing and 19th century Spain No need to be quality, just quick and readable.Well, today the day has come And turns out that yes, it pretty much lived up to those expectations entertaining with a shit plot and than a bit clich Which I was luckily amused than irritated by.Still, I would not recommend it.The plot follows Jaime Astarloa, an aging fencing master in an era where fencing is becoming increasingly irrelevant because of guns He s your usual crochety old man yelling at clouds despairing that the great practical art of fencing is being reduced to a mere sport, grumbling about today s youth, loudly proclaiming that he doesn t care about politics I couldn t care less about the principle of equality I can tell you I would rather be governed by a Caesar or Bonaparte , imagining himself the last honourable man In short, a staunch traditionalist From how it was all written, we were meant to find him a tragic and sympathetic figure, but I could neither bring myself to take him seriously, observing the whole thing withfascinated amusement, perhaps Such a stereotype.I was cheering far for two of the side characters, even if it was clear the narrator is not on their side his friend C rceles, a journalist and staunch revolutionary often monologuing about guillotines very entertaining and Adela, a young woman who wants to learn a fencing move near impossible to defend against Her appearance was described at great male gazey length, earning many an eye roll violet eyes , but she was competent and awesome and I liked her a lot I hoped the plot was not view spoiler heading towards a romance with the old fencing master who sure seemed to be eyeing her a lot hide spoiler


  7. says:

    Don Jaime Astarloa is the one of the last of a noble, dying breed As a master of the art of fencing, he lives his life by the rules of the blade, a code of conduct that centers around honorable swordsmanship and fair play With modern weapons like the pistol gaining popularity, there is little interest in fencing, but Don Jaime is able to eke out a meager living teaching his art to the sons of the aristocracy It is 1866, and Madrid is facing a storm of political upheaval as Queen Isabella II s opponents prepare for a revolution In the midst of these uncertain circumstances, a mysterious woman seeks out Don Jaime Her name is Adela de Otero, and she desires to learn the art of the unstoppable thrust, an arcane swordplay technique known only to Don Jaime It is his policy never to teach fencing to women, but when she offers him double his usual fee, it is an offer he can t refuse Don Jaime soon learns that, in addition to being exquisitely beautiful, Adela de Otero is also a talented swordswoman, and a formidable opponent She possesses a dangerous sort of attraction, and she soon begins to awaken in Don Jaime feelings that he thought he had long left behind in his old age Before he knows it, he finds himself in over his head, unwittingly embroiled in a political intrigue with potentially dire consequences.After reading and thoroughly enjoying The Flanders Panel, I was expecting a lot from this book, and ended up feeling kind of let down Don t get me wrong, I did enjoy it, it just didn t live up to my full expectations I really liked Don Jaime s character, as well as the femme fatale Adela de Otero However, I felt that the plot was rather weak The Big Important Political Secret ended up being sort of anticlimactic, and while the final battle between Don Jaime and the villain was exciting, it felt like the climax of the story was rather rushed All in all, I think that probably sums up the major problem with the bookall of it feels like the author was in a hurry to get it over and done with A lot of potentially interesting details and back story are glossed over without much explanation, and that frustrated me.


  8. says:

    This one is quite simple and straight forward I might recommend it for a young adult who likes adventure stories I just felt like it gave into stereotypes and predictability a little too much Perez Reverte has something of an obsession with the Dark Lady character out to destroy the man in love with her Nowhere is that prominent than in this novel Usually it s woven in enough that it doesn t bother me, but having read his other ones and then read this one It just made me roll my eyes a little Come on, Arturo, you re better at putting together plot threads than this.However The mystery is good, the suspense is there, the dark writing is spooky and appropriate It s a very quick, fun, easy read And I still liked it, I would just read all the other ones by him first because they re that much better.


  9. says:

    A fairly good book The story developed slowly but eventually picked up The book tells tge story of a fencing master Don Jamie, one of the few, living in the civil war period He is approached by a young seniorita, with in depth knowledge on the art of fencing He reluctantly accepts her as her student Soon after, another client of his is murdered The Marquis, Don Luis, who dies just after becoming intimate with the seniorita Other murders follow soon Who is killing all these people This is what this book is about.


  10. says:

    I originally discovered Arturo Perez Reverte through Johnny Depp s film The Ninth Gate based on Perez Reverte s book The Club Dumas I was quickly enad with his writing, which is fluid, descriptive, and intrinsically character based My only complaint with The Club Dumas was the ending I felt that Perez Reverte had failed to give enough attention to completing his antiquarian book thriller, leaving the reader wanting for a better conclusion When I picked up The Fencing Master, I expected a repeat of The Club Dumas fantastic style with a disappointing finish To my surprise, Perez Reverte pulled together a much satisfying story with a conclusion that was far tidier than the previous novel Set against the backdrop of the 1868 Spanish Revolution, Perez Reverte gives us an extremely sympathetic main character in Don Jaime Astarloa, an aging fencing master who is witnessing the demise of not only his profession but his code of ethics as well It s the internal machinations of Don Jaime that drive the novel and gives this story a convincing tone Like The Club Dumas, The Fencing Master is well written, leisurely paced, and thick with vivid descriptions As in the former novel, Perez Reverte makes use of a fairly obscure profession to draw the reader into a realistic, yet commonly unknown world There are times, however, when Perez Reverte seems to spend too much space on secondary characters Don Jaime s set of caf companions, for example, add little value to the overall story Even though one of these characters plays prominently later in the story, the numerous scenes with this handful of eccentrics merely drag the plot unnecessarily.Nonetheless, this one minor complaint is nothing compared to the loosely pulled together ending of The Club Dumas, giving The Fencing Master a far entertaining aftertaste Even though I enjoyed the previous novel and the movie it spawned , if asked, I d have to recommend The Fencing Master to anyone interested in Perez Reverte s work.