From the acclaimed and bestselling author comes the fifth adventure of Captain Alatriste, "the brooding, charismatic hero of his wildly successful Spanish swashbuckling novels" (The New York Times).
In the cosmopolitan world of seventeenth-century Madrid, with its posh theaters and gleaming palaces, Captain Alatriste and his protégé, Íñigo, are fish out of water. But the king and court are keeping Alatriste on retainer-he has proved useful in the past. As a veteran with no other source of income, Alatriste chooses to remain, even as his "employment" brings him uncomfortably close to old enemies. Íñigo, now a young man and veteran of the Hundred Years War, chooses to remain with his master and press his ill-fated romance with the beautiful but sinister Angélica de Alquézar. Alatriste, for his part, begins an affair with the famous-and famously beautiful- actress María de Castro, and discovers that the competition for her favors may be much more dangerous than he'd bargained for, especially when Alatriste and Íñigo become unwilling participants in a court conspiracy that could lead them both to the gallows.
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