Sunday, August 17, 2008
Arturo Pérez-Reverte's Queen of the South
Arturo Pérez-Reverte is one of the best selling Spanish writers in the world. He's a master of historical mysteries set in modern times (The Nautical Chart, The Seville Communion, The Flanders Panel) and of period adventure novels (Captain Alatriste, The Fencing Master). A complete list of his translated books, with synopsis, can be found here. His captivating novel, The Club Dumas, about the hunt for a rare book that allegedly reveals the secret to open the gates of Hell, was adapted to the screen in 1999 by Roman Polanski under the title The Ninth Gate, starring Johnny Depp. The Queen of the South (La Reina del Sur) is Perez-Reverte's foray into the world of smugglers, drug runners and cartels, as seen through the eyes of a shrewd, beautiful young woman forced to survive, rise up and claim her place in a world of ruthless drug lords and underlings. The action travels from Mexico to Morocco and Spain. Many North American readers may be deceived by the English book cover, which visually makes us think of another historical mystery. I guess the publishers were trying to ride the Da Vinci Code wave. For your reference, I've posted the much more accurate original Spanish cover next to it.