Soldiers of Salamis

Soldiers of Salamis


By (author) Javier Cercas, Translated by Anne McLean

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  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 196mm x 16mm | 181g
  • Publication date: 2 August 2004
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0747568235
  • ISBN 13: 9780747568230
  • Sales rank: 58,363

Product description

In the final moments of the Spanish Civil War, fifty prominent Nationalist prisoners are executed by firing squad. Among them is the writer and fascist Rafael Sanchez Mazas. As the guns fire, he escapes into the forest, and can hear a search party and their dogs hunting him down. The branches move and he finds himself looking into the eyes of a militiaman, and faces death for the second time that day. But the unknown soldier simply turns and walks away. Sanchez Mazas becomes a national hero and the soldier disappears into history. As Cercas sifts the evidence to establish what happened, he realises that the true hero may not be Sanchez Mazas at all, but the soldier who chose not to shoot him. Who was he? Why did he spare him? And might he still be alive?

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Author information

Javier Cercas was born in 1962. He is a novelist, short story writer and essayist, whose books include El Vientrede la ballena (The Belly of the Whale, 1997) and Relatos Reales (True Tales, 2000). He has taught at the University of Illinois and since 1989 has been a lecturer in Spanish literature at the University of Gerona.

Review quote

'A truly wonderful, magnificent novel. It is understanding, intelligent, compassionate ... If you were required to read only one book about Spain and its civil war, this should be that book' Allan Massie, Scotsman 'A classic novel ... about the filtration of war's tragedies through memory and myth' Independent 'Very few novels have the power to alter received opinion, but this marvellous book may well be one ... A remarkable book' Sunday Telegraph 'This is an important, fresh and original book ... Above all, it demonstrates how eloquent and exciting fiction is still capable of being' Irish Times

Editorial reviews

Cercas tells the remarkable story of Rafael Sanchez Mazas, writer, founder of the Spanish Falange and minster in Franco's first government, and an unknown republican solider. At the heart of his