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Most of his novels take place in Spain or around the Mediterranean , and often draw on numerous references to Spanish history , colonial past , art and culture, ancient treasures and the sea. The novels frequently deal with some of the major issues of modern Spain such as drug trafficking or the relationship of religion and politics. For example, in The Club Dumas , the protagonist is searching the world for a lost book and keeps meeting people who parallel figures from Dumas novels; the movie made from it, The Ninth Gate , did not feature the Dumas connection with no loss of narrative momentum.
In The Flanders Panel , a contemporary serial killer is juxtaposed with the mystery of a year-old assassination. Throughout his career, and especially in its latter half, he has been notorious for cultivating his now trademark maverick, non-partisan and at times abrasive persona. However, English translations were eventually made available for some of his works, and most of his work is also available in Portuguese and Polish. Becoming weary of the internal affairs at TVE, he resigned as a journalist and decided to work full-time as a writer.
His teenage daughter Carlota was billed as a co-author of his first Alatriste novel. Limpieza de sangre ; tr: Purity of Blood , about the "purity of blood" demanded from Conversos. Alatriste clashes with king Philip IV of Spain. Corsarios de Levante ; tr. Pirates of the Levant. Alatriste fights Barbary pirates.
El puente de los Asesinos Alatriste tries to kill the Doge of Venice. Set in the Napoleonic age. A lady requests lessons from a fencing master. La tabla de Flandes ; tr: The Flanders Panel. About a mysterious Flemish painting.
A cult of followers of the novels of Alexandre Dumas. Territorio comanche A novelization of his Balkan war experience. The story of a Mexican woman who becomes a leader of a drug trafficking cartel in the south of Spain.
Cabo Trafalgar , about the battle of Trafalgar. El pintor de batallas ; tr: The Painter of Battles. A retired war photographer confronts his past. The battle in Madrid against the French army for independence, hour to hour. Ojos azules Spanish soldiers flee the Aztecs. El tango de la guardia vieja ; tr: What We Become.
El francotirador paciente A graffiti painter.