After falling in love with The Swedish Cavalier, I started reading other novels by the same author.
The Marquis Of Bolibar is set during the Napoleonic wars, during the Spanish campaign, and the narration follows the memories of Jochberg, a soldier who was staying in the town of La Bisbal with other regiments. Jochberg remembers the events of the time and thanks to his memory we are able to understand the reasons behind the soldier’s defeat against the Spanish guerrillas.
The Marquis Of Bolibar is a noble spanish man who is heard plotting with the guerrillas who are trying to conquer and free the city: to help them he is going to provide three signals, and since that moment the spanish soldiers can begin the attack. The marquis disguises himself as a muleteer, but he is unlucky to find himself in the wrong time and place: the tavern where five soldiers are talking about their sexual conquest of the colonel’s recently dead wife. To avoid the spreading of the gossip the soldiers sentence the muleteer to death.
Maybe something more powerful was guiding the marquise doings, since a series of events begins and the signals are sent to the guerrillas.
In this novel, like in The Swedish Cavalier, the real and the unreal coexist, because actions are made by men, and it could be a chance that the events develop in a precise way, but they seem to be driven by a superior will – also because otherwise the soldiers are behaving in a self destructive way. To this also Captain Salignac adds up, and he seems able to survive any battle, and some people see in him the Wandering Jew.
The novel is entertaining and engaging, the characters are characterized with small features but they are quite distinctive also for their flaws. The best part of the novel is the mysterious shadows looming over the story.
* The Marquis Of Bolibar by Leo Perutz ★★★★☆½
*I read this book in italian