The Sadness of the Samurai
By Victor del Arbol
(Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805094756, 400pp.)
Publication Date: May 22, 2012
A betrayal and a murder in pro-Nazi Spain spark a struggle for power that grips a family for generations in this sweeping historical thriller
Fierce, edgy, brisk, and enthralling, this brilliant novel by Victor del Árbol pushes the boundaries of the traditional historical novel and in doing so creates a work of incredible power that resonates long after the last page has been turned.
When Isabel, a Spanish aristocrat living in the pro-Nazi Spain of 1941, becomes involved in a plot to kill her Fascist husband, she finds herself betrayed by her mysterious lover. The effects of her betrayal play out in a violent struggle for power in both family and government over three generations, intertwining her story with that of a young lawyer named Maria forty years later. During the attempted Fascist coup of 1981, Maria is accused of plotting the prison escape of a man she successfully prosecuted for murder. As Maria's and Isabel's narratives unfold they encircle each other, creating a page-turning literary thriller firmly rooted in history.
Victor del Árbol holds a degree in history from the University of Barcelona. He has worked for Catalonia's police force since 1992. In 2006, he won the Tiflos de Novela Award for The Weight of the Dead. The Sadness of the Samurai is his first novel to be translated into English.
"A deftly plotted thriller that combines narrative momentum with literary ambition...masterful…A literary page-turner."—Kirkus, Starred Review
"Tension oozes from every page…a gripping thriller that rivals the suspense of Alan Furst’s Night Soldiers and C. J. Samson’s Winter in Madrid."—Booklist
"An intriguing story of espionage, sex, and betrayal… this historical thriller does not disappoint. Readers who enjoy detective fiction, historical fiction, and psychological thrillers will find plenty to engross them."—Library Journal
"Haunting and disturbing, this magnificent novel reminds us that the door is never completely shut upon evil or the past."—María Dueñas, author of the #1 internationally bestselling novel The Time in Between