This week [early June 2013] it was announced in the news that Harper Collins will publish the English version of the best-selling Spanish (and recently Catalan) novel on the siege of Barcelona in 1714, Victus by Albert Sánchez Piñol, in time for the third centenary of the events.
The publisher’s [La Campana] publicity for the novel is the following (their website has an impressive list on all the news on the book in the Spanish and Catalan press):
«I will tell it all! How they screwed general Villarroel, how they defeated our victories. Because, until now, of this war I have only heard the versions of those above or of the enemy.»
Victus is a historical novel that narrates the War of the Spanish Succession, a conflict that could be considered the first of the world struggles and that ends on 11 September 1714 with the apocalyptic assault on Barcelona. It is also the tragedy of Martí Zuviría, a youth from Barcelona, an advantaged pupil of the Marquess of Vauban, who turns into a genius of military engineering.
Victus is a splurge of information and historical rigour in the service of an agile, potent and relaxed tale, with a rabidly contemporary diction that takes us from France to Barcelona via Madrid, Toledo, Tortosa and the battles of Brihuega and Almansa. And it is also a work on the irreducible Barcelona of 1714 that suffered an irregular siege of 13 months and the bombardment of more than 30,000 projectiles.
Victus questions the official versions of both sides and gives a voice to the authentic protagonists of the history: from the enormous figure of Villarroel, the general who defended the Catalan capital with tears in his eyes, to the civilians and anonymous soldiers of all the nations that fought on both sides of the city walls.
But above all, Victus is a first-class literary feast that is devoured in the way the great works have always been devoured, which is reflected by the fact that even before being published in its original version the rights for the Russian, German, Dutch and French versions had already been sold.
«A hurricane of fresh air, an iconoclastic vision from below that rewrites the myth of 1714 with more power. More vibrant. Nearer.» Joan B. Culla, professor of Contemporary History.
Also a movie is being prepared.
The Wikipedia has got this information on the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714).
Update: Amazon.com informs that Victus (in English) will be available on Sept. 9, 2014, and the site offers quite a few “customer” reviews.
The amazon.co.uk site lists it for Oct. 9, 2014.
There had been speculations about the translator; according to the amazon information there are two, Daniel Hahn and Thomas Bunstead.