I was hesitant to mention this because of my genuine affection for this author and his books, but I just can’t let this pass, simply because I would hope that an author of historical fiction would be concerned with actual historical accuracy. (That and because neither he nor any of his people responded to my friendly emails.) Now, I’m assuming that this is an error due to some sort of translation mistake made on the part of the U.S. publisher, but it’s still fairly inexcusable. The profoundly egregious* error I refer to is taken from the jacket copy of the latest Captain Alatriste novel by Arturo Perez-Reverte entitled, The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet:
“In the cosmopolitan world of 17th century Madrid, with its posh theaters and gleaming palaces, Captain Alatriste and his protégé Inigo are fish out of water. But the King and court are keeping Alatriste on retainer — he has proved useful in the past. As a veteran with no other livelihood, Alatriste chooses to remain, even as his “employment” brings him uncomfortably close to old enemies. Inigo, now a young man and veteran of the Hundred Years War…”
If Inigo is truly a veteran of the Hundred Years War, then he is at least 170 years old and probably English, rather than Spanish.
History lesson with Seth: The Hundred Years War was fought from 1337 to 1453 and was concerning dual claims to the vacant French throne, while the Eighty Years War was fought between Spain and Holland between 1568-1648 and was the setting for one of Perez-Reverte’s previous books, The Sun Over Breda. These facts could have easily been checked by either the jacket copywriter or Senor Perez-Reverte quite easily on the magical internet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_years_war and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighty_years_war.
Like I said, I was ready to let this be chalked up to the English translation of the book, but I saw the same reference on http://www.perez-reverte.com/ and decided to call him out on it. The author’s Spanish language site thankfully makes no reference to the Hundred Years War, but in this age of Google and high speed information, there is no excuse for historical inaccuarcies from an author of historical fiction. At least read your own website! Maybe I’m mad because I already read this book and didn’t notice the jacket error until someone else pointed it out to me.
God, did I really just post that? Has the Book Catapult jumped the shark?
*None of this is either profound, nor egregious.