The Siege – Arturo Pérez-Reverte

English Title: The Siege

Original Spanish Title: El Asiedo

Author: Arturo Pérez-Reverte

Translated from Spanish by: Frank Wynne

Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction

Plot: The city of Seville is under siege by Napoleon’s army in 1811. The French navy is blockading the city. The ships send cannons on an almost daily basis to remind the citizens of Seville that they are there. Police Comisario (high ranking captain) Rogelio Tizón is chasing a serial killer. The killer is placing bodies where bombs have gone off in the city. With limited resources and no outside help, Comisario Tizón is charged with finding the killer. In a city where anyone could be a suspect, the story also follows a taxidermist (who’s also a French spy), a businesswoman looking for a ship’s captain brave enough to run the French blockade, a captain who’s falling for his boss, and an academic who’s studying the French navy’s tactics. All of their paths cross. All of them are connected to each other in some way. Time is running low for the Comisario. The bombings are becoming more frequently, and so are the bodies. When Comisario Tizón is close to catching the killer, the games changes. A body is found right before a bomb goes off, instead of after. Who is the killer? Will Comisario Tizón catch them? Or will they escape? And will the French ever end their siege? Will they get what they came for?

Rating: 3.2 – a slow and steady mystery with a fun twist and a sad one

Opinion: Artruo Pérez-Reverte loves his eloquent words and this book is no exception. I’m glad that I read it in English instead of Spanish. I know a fair amount of Spanish, but it would’ve taken me so much longer because of all eloquent words and long descriptions. It is a steady with twist in all of the right places. I enjoyed reading this book but some parts seemed to drag. Throughout the book, I had a few guesses of who I thought the killer was and a few characters I for sure knew who it wasn’t. Maybe I’m not good at reading mysteries, or maybe Arturo Pérez-Reverte is an amazing writer, or some combination of the two, but I didn’t guess who the true serial killer was. The Comisario’s explanation of why the killer did what they did made sense. Arturo Pérez-Reverte does an awesome job of describing what life looked like during the siege of Seville. He is an expert at researching what he needs to write an accurate book. This book is no exception to that either. If you’re looking for an eloquently written book than look no farther. This book is an accurately written book about history. It is also a great mystery that keeps you guessing.

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