Latest Reads

The Horsemans Song – Ben Pastor – #Blogtour

Firstly I would like to extend my thanks to Anne Cater for organising and including me on this #Blogtour for The Horseman’s Song written by Ben Pastor and published by Bitter Lemon Press.

The sixth in the Martin Bora collection and the prequel to the whole series

Set during the Spanish Civil War, the action takes place in the scorched high sierras of Aragon, where a troop of Franco’s volunteers under the orders of Martin Bora face a platoon from the International Brigades led by an American. The focal point of the story is the mystery of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca’smurder. His body was never found. It is still being looked for today.

Bora is an aristocratic German army officer, with echoes of Claus von Stauffenberg, torn between his duty as an officer andhis integrity as a human being. He and his American “enemy” fall in love with the same woman of the night, and eventually join forces seeking to resolve the Lorca murder.

The Horseman’s Song

Spain, July 1937. The tragic prelude to World War II is played out in the civil war between Spanish nationalists and republicans. AmongFranco’s volunteers is Martin Bora, the twenty-something German officer and detective. Presently assigned to the Spanish Foreign Legion, Bora lives the tragedy around him as an epic, between idealism and youthful recklessness.

Doubts about his mission in Spain arise when Bora happens on the body of Federico García Lorca, a brilliant poet, progressive and homosexual. Who murdered him? Why? The official version does not convince Bora, who, intoxicated by the mystery, begins a perilous investigation. His inquiry paradoxically proceeds alongside that of Walton, his opposite number with the International Brigades. Soon the German and the New Englander join forces, and their cooperation will not only culminate in a thrilling chase after a murderer, but also in an existential face-to-face between two adversaries forever changed by their encounter.

Historical accounts tell us that Lorca was arrested and executed by Franco’s troops under circumstances that remain largely unknown. To this day his body has not been found.

The sixth in the Martin Bora collection and the prequel to the whole series

Ben Pastor

About the Author

BEN PASTOR, aka Maria Verbena Volpi – born in Italy, worked as a university professor in Vermont. She is one of the most talented writers in the field of historical fiction. In 2008 she won the prestigious Premio Zaragoza for best historical fiction. She writes in English.

Praise for the Martin Bora series:

“Liar Moon presents a memorable picture of Fascist Italy through the lens of ordinary police procedure carried outunder extraordinary circumstances.”Publishers Weekly

“And don’t miss Lumen. A Wehrmacht officer’s investigation is complicated by his compatriots’ cruelty and the Catholic Church’s secrecy. An interesting, original and melancholy tale.” Literary Review “

“Tin Sky – Best crime novel of the month. Terror and suspicion on the Eastern Front. This fine novel is packed withtense moments and moral ambiguity.” Sunday Times

“Dark Song of Blood is historical crime fiction at its best, vividly re-creating the atmosphere of a city occupied byan increasingly desperate army.” Times

PUB DATE: February 14, 2019 MARKET: Crime Fiction BINDING: Paperback
PRICE: £8.99 ISBN: 978-1912242-115 REPORT CODE: NP
TERRITORY: UK & Commonwealth, Europe.

My Review:

I found this book to be so atmospheric, the way that the scenery is described, I was almost in the desert, sat listening to Bora and Walton, surrounded by the historical buildings and the primitive conditions, fallen shrapnel on the ground around us.

Bora acts as a double agent, and if it had not been for the main character and historical terms lists, I would have been left stranded – these were really helpful. Though I will admit to having to google some of the spanish/german words for translations. Just to gain more understanding of the story.

The fact that this book is factually correct, based upon true geographical battles and the entire background of the plot and political information – double agents acting as spies. The death of Lorca, makes this book even more spine chilling. The way Bora takes information from one party to the other without giving himself away, so clever.

Although not my usual genre, well Crime is, but not the historical war part – made this book more interesting for me, and I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. I can see why Pastor is the award-winning author that she is and will anyone with an interest in this genre to read this thrilling book.

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