The Painter of Battles
Publication Date: January 8, 2008
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Acclaimed author Arturo Pérez-Reverte has earned a distinguished reputation as a master of the literary thriller with his international bestsellers The Club Dumas and The Queen of the South. Now, in this haunting new work, Pérez-Reverte has written his most accomplished novel to date. The Painter of Battles is a captivating tale of love, war, art, and revenge.
Andrés Faulques, a world-renowned war photographer, has retired to a life of solitude on the Spanish coast. On the walls of a tower overlooking the sea, he spends his days painting a huge mural that pays homage to history’s classic works of war art and that incorporates a lifetime of disturbing images.
One night, an unexpected visitor arrives at Faulques’ door and challenges the painter to remember him. As Faulques struggles to recall the face, the man explains that he was the subject of an iconic photo taken by Faulques in a war zone years ago. “And why have you come looking for me?” asks Faulques. The stranger answers, “Because I’m going to kill you.”
This story transports Faulques to the time when he crossed continents to capture conflicts on film with his lover, Olvido, at his side. Until she walked into his life, Faulques muses, he had believed he would survive both war and women.
As the tense dialogue between Faulques and his visitor continues, the stakes grow ever higher. What they are grappling with quickly proves to be not just Faulques’ fate but the very nature of human love and cruelty itself.
Arturo Pérez-Reverte perfectly balances the shadows of the heart with the chaos of war in this stunning composition on morality. Superb and tautly written, The Painter of Battles is a deeply affecting novel about life and art.
Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s bestselling books, including The Club Dumas, The Flanders Panel, The Seville Communion, and the Captain Alatriste series, have been translated into thirty-four languages in fifty countries and have sold millions of copies. Pérez-Reverte was born in 1951 in Cartagena, Spain, and now lives in Madrid, where he was recently elected to the Spanish Royal Academy. A retired war journalist, he covered conflicts in Angola, Bosnia, Croatia, El Salvador, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, Romania, the Persian Gulf, and Sudan, among others. He now writes fiction full-time.
“[Pérez-Reverte’s] best book yet . . . a game of mental chess, an excursion into art, history and imagination.”
–The Times (London)
“A remarkable achievement. Not only does the clash of ideas and emotions echo after you have turned the last page–this novel will change what you see in images from datelines around the world.”
–Scott Simon, author of Pretty Birds
“Arturo Pérez-Reverte has established himself as the master of the intellectual thriller.”
“[A] taut literary thriller [with] meticulous detail and dark, brooding tone.”
“A gripping story of war, cruelty, testimony, and the past . . . Arturo Pérez-Reverte is the great European storyteller of the 21st century.”
–Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Young Stalin
“Reminds American readers of the sublime rhetoric of Faulkner and how such passages in the hands of a master can add to the momentum of the story.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
“A tour de force [that] explores the great themes of human existence.”