This was a time when Spain was revered, feared, and hated in the easterly seas; when the devil had no color, no name, and no flag; and when the only thing needed to summon hell on earth (or sea) was a Spaniard and his sword.
Accompanied by his faithful foster son, Íñigo, Captain Alatriste accepts a job as a mercenary aboard a Spanish galleon. The ship sets sail from Naples on a journey that will take them to some of the most remote - and wretched - outposts of the empire: Morocco, Algeria, and finally to Malta for a stunning and bloody battle on the high seas that will challenge even the battle-hardened Alatriste's resolve.
Now 17, Íñigo is almost ready to leave Alatriste, his foster father and fellow soldier. But will age and experience bring wisdom, or is he likely to repeat many of his mentor's mistakes?
"With swords a-slashing and muskets a-blazing, Pérez-Reverte once again effortlessly channels Rafael Sabatini in this witty and - alas - final novel in a marvelous series. " (Publishers Weekly)
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