Arturo Pérez-Reverte

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Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Pérez-Reverte in 2016
Pérez-Reverte in 2016
BornArturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez
(1951-11-25) 25 November 1951 (age 70)
Cartagena, Murcia, Spain
OccupationJournalist, novelist
GenreHistorical novel
Notable worksThe Adventures of Captain Alatriste

Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez (born 25 November 1951 in Cartagena) is a Spanish novelist and journalist.[1] He worked as a war correspondent for RTVE for 21 years (1973–1994). His first novel, El húsar, set in the Napoleonic Wars, was released in 1986.

He is well known outside Spain for his "Alatriste" series of novels, which have been translated into multiple languages. Since 2003 he has been a member of the Royal Spanish Academy.


Pérez-Reverte's novels are usually centered on one strongly defined character, and his plots move along swiftly, often featuring a narrator who is part of the story but apart from it. Most of his novels take place in Spain or around the Mediterranean. They often draw on numerous references to Spanish history, colonial past, art and culture, ancient treasures and the sea. The novels frequently deal with some of the major issues of modern Spain, such as drug trafficking or the relationship of religion and politics.

Often, Pérez-Reverte's novels have two plots running in parallel with little connection between them except for shared characters. For example, in The Club Dumas, the protagonist is searching the world for a lost book and keeps meeting people who parallel figures from Dumas's novels; in The Flanders Panel, a contemporary serial killer is juxtaposed with the mystery of a 500-year-old assassination.

In his often polemical newspaper columns and the main characters of his novels, Pérez-Reverte frequently expresses pessimism about human behaviour, shaped by his wartime experiences in such places as El Salvador, Croatia or Bosnia.[2] His views have also been shaped by his research for crime shows.

Throughout his career, and especially in its latter half, he has been noted for cultivating his trademark maverick, non-partisan and at times abrasive persona. This has occasionally been a source of conflict with other journalists and writers.[3] He originally refused to have his novels translated from the original Spanish to any language other than French. However, English translations were eventually published for some of his works, and most of his work is also available in Portuguese and Polish.

Pérez-Reverte was elected to seat T of the Real Academia Española on 23 January 2003; he took up his seat on 12 June the same year.[4]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • The Painter of Battles was the winner of the 2008 Premio Gregor von Rezzori award for foreign fiction translated into Italian.
  • In 2016 Pérez-Reverte was named as one of the 10 most important writers of the year by the Spanish national newspaper ABC, alongside novelists including Eduardo Mendoza and Andrés Pascual.[5][6]

Personal life[edit]

Sherry barrel signed by Pérez-Reverte

Pérez-Reverte started his journalistic career writing for the now-defunct newspaper Pueblo and then for Televisión Española (the Spanish state-owned television broadcaster), often as a war correspondent. Becoming weary of the internal affairs at TVE, he resigned as a journalist and decided to work full-time as a writer.

His teenage daughter Carlota was billed as a co-author of his first Alatriste novel.[7] He lives between La Navata (near Madrid) and his native Cartagena, from where he enjoys sailing solo in the Mediterranean. He is a friend of Javier Marías, who presented Pérez-Reverte with the title of Duke of Corso of the Kingdom of Redonda micro nation.

His nephew Arturo Juan Pérez-Reverte is a professional footballer playing for FC Cartagena.[8]


Mexican novelist Verónica Murguía accused Arturo Pérez-Reverte of plagiarizing her work. On 10 November 1997 Murguía published a short story, titled "Historia de Sami", in the magazine El laberinto urbano. Months later, in March 1998, Pérez-Reverte published a story in El Semanal, with the title "Un chucho mejicano", bearing close similarities in narration, chronology, phrases, and in the anecdote. Pérez-Reverte's story was recently republished in a re-compilation for the text Perros e hijos de perra (Alfaguara), and Murguía noticed the plagiarism at that time. Murguía would not proceed with a legal case but asked for an apology and the removal of the story from his text. Meanwhile, Pérez-Reverte apologized and noted that the story he published he wrote exactly as it was told to him by writer Sealtiel Alatriste.[9]

Pérez-Reverte's script for the film Gitano in the late 1990s also brought another charge of plagiarism against him. In May 2011 the Audiencia Provincial of Madrid ordered Pérez-Reverte and Manuel Palacios, director and co-writer of Gitano, to pay 80,000 euros to filmmaker Antonio González-Vigil, who had sued them for alleged plagiarism of the film's script. Pérez-Reverte described this decision as "a clear ambush" and a "clear manoeuvre to extort money."[10] The ruling contradicted two previous criminal rulings, and one from a merchant judiciary which had all decided in favor of Pérez-Reverte and Palacios. In July 2013 the Audiencia Provincial of Madrid ordered Pérez-Reverte to pay 200,000 euros to González-Vigil for plagiarism.[9][11]


Captain Alatriste novels[edit]

  • El capitán Alatriste (1996; tr: Captain Alatriste, Plume 2005, ISBN 978-0452287112), presenting the character of a swordsman in the Spanish Golden Age.
  • Limpieza de sangre (1997; tr: Purity of Blood), about the "purity of blood" demanded from Conversos.
  • El sol de Breda (1998; tr: The Sun over Breda), about the war in the Spanish Netherlands – specifically, the Siege of Breda.
  • El oro del rey (2000; tr: The King's Gold), about the Spanish treasure fleet.
  • El caballero del jubón amarillo (2003; tr: The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet). Alatriste clashes with king Philip IV of Spain.
  • Corsarios de Levante (2006; tr. Pirates of the Levant). Alatriste fights Barbary pirates.
  • El puente de los Asesinos (2011). Alatriste tries to kill the Doge of Venice.

Falcó novels[edit]

  • Falcó (2016)- Falcó is an espionage agent working for Franco during the Spanish Civil War.
  • Eva (2017) -A new mission takes Falcó to Tangiers.
  • Sabotage (2018)- Falcó travels to París for a new mission.

Other novels[edit]

Jaime de Astarloa in The Fencing Master
  • El húsar (1986). Set in the Napoleonic age.
  • El maestro de esgrima (1988; tr: The Fencing Master, Mariner Books, 2004. ISBN 978-0156029834). A lady requests lessons from a fencing master.
  • La tabla de Flandes (1990; tr: The Flanders Panel). About a mysterious Flemish painting.
  • El club Dumas or La sombra de Richelieu (1993; tr: The Club Dumas ISBN 978-0156032834). A cult of followers of the novels of Alexandre Dumas.
  • La sombra del águila (1993). Set in the Napoleonic age.
  • Territorio comanche (1994). A novelization of his Balkan war experience.
  • La piel del tambor (1995; tr: The Seville Communion)
  • Un asunto de honor (1995)
  • La carta esférica (2000; tr: The Nautical Chart).
  • La Reina del Sur (2002; tr: The Queen of the South ISBN 978-0452286542). The story of a Mexican woman who becomes a leader of a drug trafficking cartel in the south of Spain.
  • Cabo Trafalgar (2004), about the battle of Trafalgar.
  • El pintor de batallas (2006; tr: The Painter of Battles). A retired war photographer confronts his past.
  • Un día de cólera (2007). 2 May 1808. The battle in Madrid against the French army for independence, hour to hour.
  • Ojos azules (2009). Spanish soldiers flee the Aztecs.
  • El Asedio (2010; tr The Siege by Frank Wynne). Set in 1811, during the siege of Cádiz.
  • El tango de la guardia vieja (2012; tr: What We Become). Romance.
  • El francotirador paciente (2013). A graffiti painter.
  • Hombres buenos (2015). About the Royal Spanish Academy and the Encyclopédie
  • Los perros duros no bailan (2018)
  • Sidi (2019). About the Castilian knight El Cid.
  • Línea de fuego (2020)
  • El italiano (2021)


  • Obra breve (1995)
  • Patente de corso (1998). Collection of press columns.
  • Con ánimo de ofender (2001). Another collection of columns.
  • No me cogeréis vivo (2005)
  • Cuando éramos honrados mercenarios (2009)
  • Los barcos se pierden en tierra (2011)
  • Perros e hijos de perra (2014)
  • La guerra civil contada a los jóvenes (2015). Illustrated by Fernando Vicente.
  • Una historia de España (2019)

Films based on novels by Pérez-Reverte[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vicerrectorado de Innovación de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. "Arturo Pérez Reverte". Universidad Complutense de Madrid (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  2. ^ Pérez-Reverte, Arturo (9 June 2007). "Fantasmas de los Balcanes". XL Semanal (in Spanish). Taller de Editores. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  3. ^ Perezagua, Irene (21 February 2011). "Pérez-Reverte arremete contra María Antonia Iglesias y Pilar Rahola: "Son joyas de la telemierda. Viven de la demagogia pseudofeminista imbécil"". Periodista Digital (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez". Real Academia Española (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Rioja news - 10 Best Writers".
  6. ^ "ABC Spain, 27/12/2016".
  7. ^ Irene. "El capitán Alatriste; Arturo y Carlota Pérez-Reverte". Rincón del Vago (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  8. ^ Rodríguez, Ángel (27 September 2013). "El Alatriste de La Mancha". Marca (in Spanish). Unidad Editorial. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Verónica Murguía atribuye el plagio de un texto a Pérez-Reverte". Vanguardia (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 31 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  10. ^ EFE (6 May 2011). "El escritor Arturo Pérez-Reverte, condenado a pagar 80.000 euros por plagio" [Writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte ordered to pay 80,000 euros for plagiarism]. El País (in Spanish). Madrid: Prisa. Retrieved 22 October 2011.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Gómez, Xabi (16 July 2013). "Arturo Pérez-Reverte paga más de 200.000 euros por el plagio de un guión" [Arturo Pérez-Reverte pays more than 200,000 euros for plagiarising a script]. El Correo (in Spanish). Bilbao: Vocento. Retrieved 4 August 2018.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]