“All of them – he, don Francisco de Quevedo, Velázquez, Captain Alatriste, the miserable and magnificent epoch I knew – all are gone now. But in libraries, in books, on canvases, in churches, in palaces, streets, and plazas, those men left an indelible mark that lives on. The memory of Lope’s hand will disappear with me when I die, as will Velázquez’s Andalusian accent, the sound of don Francisco’s golden spurs jingling as he limped along, the serene grey-green gaze of Captain Alatriste. Yet the echoes of their singular lives will resound as long as that many-faceted country, that mix of towns, tongues, histories, bloods, and betrayed dreams exists: that marvellous and tragic stage we call Spain”

Arturo and Carlota Pérez Reverte, Captain Alatriste

Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden

Penguin, usa, 2006