An interesting subject, that of Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s latest novel, Hombres buenos [Good men], to be published in Spain on March 12, 2015.
The publisher’s summary:
“In Spain, in times of darkness, there were always good men who, guided by Reason, fought to bring enlightenment and progress to their compatriots. And there was no lack of those who tried to prevent them from doing it.” A. P.-R.
At the end of the 18th century, when two members of the Royal Spanish Academy, the librarian H. Molina and the admiral P. Zárate, received from their colleagues the assignment to travel to Paris and to buy in a quasi clandestine manner the 28 volumes of D’Alembert’s and Diderot’s Encyclopédie, that was prohibited in Spain, nobody could suspect that the two academics were to face a dangerous succession of intrigues, a journey of uncertainties and shocks, that would bring them, on roads infested by bandits and uncomfortable guesthouses, from Carlos III’s enlightened Madrid to the Paris of coffee houses, salons, philosophical debates, libertine life and political agitation on the eve of the French Revolution. Based on real facts and figures, rigorously documented, moving and fascinating on every page, Hombres buenos tells the heroic adventure of those who, guided by the lights of Reason, tried to change the world with books, when the future cornered the old ideas and the desire of freedom staggered established thrones and worlds.
Apart from the story set in the 18th century, there is a parallel one of the present, that shows the details of the author’s historical investigation with the help of scholars, specialists, bibliophile dealers and friends.
“… beats full of life and confirms that there are novels that make us understand the past’s events better than substantial academic tracts.” Enrique Turpin, La Vanguardia
SOURCE: Alfaguara; “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, March 7, 2015, pp. 4-6 [printed edition]