The Siege

CWA Daggers: International, 2014

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780297864349

Price: £12.99

ON SALE: 29th August 2013

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Crime & Mystery / Historical Mysteries

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Cádiz, 1811. While the city is under siege from the marauding French army, an even greater menace is lurking within the city walls: a serial killer is on the loose, flaying young women to death. Each of these murders takes place near where a French bomb has just fallen. In order to find the murderer, police commissioner Rogelio Tizon begins to perceive the city as a vast chessboard as he tries to predict his unknown opponent’s next deadly move.

In the claustrophobic atmosphere of the besieged town, an heiress, an unscrupulous corsair captain, a taxidermist who is also a spy and a hardened soldier begin to cross paths, and behind them all the figure of Tizon is getting closer to deciphering the lethal pattern behind the murders…

With all the intrigue and romance of Pérez-Reverte’s bestsellers, THE DUMAS CLUB and THE FLANDERS PANEL, THE SIEGE is the story of a city and a people who will never be the same again.


That rare thing, an old-fashioned, proper, big novel: The Siege is as much a thickly described historical fiction as a many-layered crime novel. The judges admired the claustrophobia of the siege of Cadiz (for both sides) during the Peninsular War that forms the detailed background to the investigation and the author's serious ethical intentions. To quote Orson Welles, Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?
This is a big and bold novel, rich in character and incident
I was totally drawn in. I felt as though I was living through the siege with the characters - the fear, the hunger, the pretence of normality when a bomb might kill you at any moment. We moved from high-life at the theatre to low in the taverns, from policeman to spy, from Spanish lines to French. I loved the scenes at sea, which were very vividly done. I felt I came to know the characters... This is more novel than crime story, with the murders being a strand in a much larger story, and it's a challenging read - but well worth the effort. If you want something that will engross you wholly in another world, try this.
Arturo Perez-Reverte's bold new thriller...The Siege is his best yet: an ambitious intellectual thriller peopled with colourful rogues and antiheroes, meticulous in its historical detail, with a plot that rattles along to its unexpected finale
Stephanie Merritt, THE OBSERVER
Peopled with a cast that would not be out of place in an Almodovar film, Perez-Reverte's novel is an intelligent thriller packed with intrigue and romance
Kathy Stevenson, DAILY MAIL
Arturo Perez-Reverte has long been Spain's most popular, inventive writer of historical fiction... this is a big and bold novel, rich in character and incident
A thrilling novel that is packed with intrigue and romance
Crime fiction and a historical setting make impressive bedfellows in Pérez Reverte's latest offering... Thrilling.
Martyn Colebrook, THE LADY
A sweeping panorama of life in besieged Cadiz during the Peninsula War
Pérez Reverte recreates the whole world through unforgettable characters, notably Lolita Palma, a lone woman running the family merchant house. History, adventure and philosophy. Unless your Spanish runs to terms of a nautical nature, this is best read in translation
Judie Newman, professor of American Studies at the University of Nottingham, TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT
A manhunt, war, romance, plenty of intrigue and action, and numerous twists and turns - this novel comes highly recommended. It's entertaining, well-written and virtually impossible to put down. I doubt you'll be disappointed
Arturo Perez-Reverte is Spain's best known modern novelist and one of the great European adventure storytellers in a line stretching back to Dumas and beyond. His 13 previous books, all immaculately researched and historically accurate, have dealt with much of his country's quest for empire and European domination, but his latest - and many could argue his best - is set solely in the vibrant port city of Cadiz during the Peninsula War... This beautifully written and fast-paced series of linked stories offers a manhunt set against its central war theme; a romance; first class action scenes; some fascinating, if bizarre, ideas on scientific detection - and an unexpected ending... It's a hugely ambitious and intellectual thriller with no heroes, and is far more than a simple whodunit... a riveting blend of incident, historical background and some piercing insights into the mercurial Spanish psyche... intelligent, fascinating and easily read.
Pérez-Reverte begins with several different strands of story and weaves them into a rather impressive web. The level of detail is meticulous but also beautiful; his descriptions of the town and people of Cádiz capture colors, smells and personalities, making the page come to life, and he balances these sensory passages with dense observations about history, metaphysics, science and human nature. . . A genre-bending literary thriller worth the time.