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The fifth novel in the adventures of Captain Alatriste, a seventeenth-century swashbuckler and "a twenty-first-century literary phenomenon." (Entertainment Weekly)

In the cosmopolitan world of seventeenth-century Madrid, captain Alatriste and his protégé Íñigo are fish out of water. But the king is determined to keep Alatriste on retainer-regardless of whether his "employment" brings the captain uncomfortably close to old enemies. Alatriste begins an affair with the famous and beautiful actress, María Castro, but soon discovers that the cost of her favors may be more than he bargained for-especially when he and Íñigo become unwilling participants in a court conspiracy that could lead them both to the gallows . . .

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