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Lunch » Tags » Fiction » Reviews » Victus: The Fall of Barcelona, A Novel » User review

Engineers Make A Difference!

  • Jul 25, 2014
Fascinating tale of Zuviria Marti, who because of a childhood prank, is sent off from Spain to France to be educated. He arrives at the estate of Vauban, a legendary engineer who has fought in many wars. While the other two candidates to be trained appear superior to Zuvira, he is chosen.

His training as an engineer is more intense than one can imagine as he is routinely put through exercises where he has a short time to look at something and then he is tested on the most minutest detail of what he may have saw (how many petals were on a flower). This training is so that he can look at any stronghold and instantly find the weaknesses so it can be stormed. Additionally, it helps him to design fortifications that cannot be breached.

Marti tells the story in first person and at the beginning of the book you know that he has been to many battles as he starts talking about the various wounds he has received that affect him still. The reader is given a lot of detail as to how fortifcations are built including how bastions are set up the author includes many picture representations throughout the book.

There is a very valuable cast of characters along with their highlights at the end of the book and this proves very valuable to the reader because we are given so many characters and historical events that without this reference I would have been lost. I mostly enjoyed this book and it presented a great deal of history for a time in Europe that I knew very little about (Early 1700's). Sometimes the book gets a little bit buried under some of that history telling and it was very challenging to remember everything. This is the only thing that kept me from giving the book a full five stars.

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July 25, 2014
Sounds like an informative read!
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I first got on this blog to discuss my first passion which is books. Since I have gotten on I find that books are only a piece of this blog and I can discuss just about anything that comes to mind. It … more
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A #1 international bestseller reminiscent of the works of Roberto Bolaño, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Edward Rutherford—a page-turning historical epic, set in early eighteenth-century Spain, about a military mastermind whose betrayal ultimately leads to the conquest of Barcelona, from the globally popular Catalonian writer Albert Sánchez Piñol.

Why do the weak fight against the strong? At 98, Martí Zuviría ponders this question as he begins to tell the extraordinary tale of Catalonia and its annexation in 1714. No one knows the truth of the story better, for Martí was the very villain who betrayed the city he was commended to keep.

The story of Catalonia and Barcelona is also Martí’s story. A prestigious military engineer in the early 1700s, he fought on both sides of the long War of the Spanish Succession between the Two Crowns—France and Spain—and aided an Allied enemy in resisting the consolidation of those two powers. Politically ambitious yet morally weak, Martí carefully navigates a sea of Machiavellian intrigue, eventually rising to a position of power that he will use for his own mercenary ends.

A sweeping tale of heroism, treason, war, love, pride, and regret that culminates in the tragic fall of a legendary city, illustrated with battle diagrams, portraits of political figures, and priceless

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