Monday, 18 February 2019

#BlogTour The Horseman's Song by Ben Pastor


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Horseman's Song by Ben Pastor. It's crime, war, conflict and yet at the same time it's also a statement of human inadequacies during times of great upheaval.
About the Author
Ben Pastor, pseudonym of Maria Verbena Volpi, was born in Italy and worked as a university professor in Vermont. She lived for thirty years in the United States, working as a university professor, before returning to Italy to write historical thrillers. She has published five novels in the Martin Bora series in English so far and a number of prize-winning novels including The Water Thief and The Fire Waker (published to high acclaim in the US by St. Martin's Press), and is considered one of the most talented writers in the field of historical fiction. In 2008 she won the prestigious Premio Zaragoza for best historical fiction. She writes in English.

Visit benpastor.com
Buy The Horseman's Song


About the book
Spain, July 1937. The tragic prelude to World War II is played out in the civil war between Spanish nationalists and republicans. Among Franco’s volunteers is Martin Bora, the twenty-something German officer and detective. Presently assigned to the Spanish Foreign Legion, Bora lives the tragedy around him as an epic, between idealism and youthful recklessness.

Doubts about his mission in Spain arise when Bora happens on the body of Federico García Lorca, a brilliant poet, progressive and homosexual. Who murdered him? Why? The official version does not convince Bora, who, intoxicated by the mystery, begins a perilous investigation. His inquiry paradoxically proceeds alongside that of Walton, his opposite number with the International Brigades. Soon the German and the New Englander join forces, and their cooperation will not only culminate in a thrilling chase after a murderer, but also in an existential face-to-face between two adversaries forever changed by their encounter.

Historical accounts tell us that Lorca was arrested and executed by Franco’s troops under circumstances that remain largely unknown. To this day his body has not been found.

Review
Can one be lyrical during times of war and have time to enjoy moments of poignant prose? The answer to that is yes and perhaps even more so considering who the victim is in this historical crime story. Pastor has gone back in time to use the disputed and controversial murder of the famous Spanish poet Federico García Lorca.

His body was never found and there are plenty of books and debates about the why or indeed the culprits. The only thing everyone agrees on is that he was assassinated. The reasons seem to wander between his political affiliations and  the fact he was homosexual. The truth will be somewhere in between, killed as part of mass execution protocols to extinguish supporters of the Marxist Popular Front and perhaps insulted before his death for his sexuality.

The author has taken that mystery and created a fascinating search for answers between two opposing sides in the midst of the Spanish civil war. Instead of focusing on strategy, front-lines and battle, this is about the men and women in the middle of brutal political machinations.

In, what I believe is, more of an ironic nod towards the search for the remains of Lorcas since his death, the plot revolves around finding the corpse. In fact there is less of a focus on the culprits than on the whole we need to find the body to give him a burial and honour him. To this day thousands have been spent on locating the remains of this honoured and revered poet.

Pastor has a very distinctive literary style, old school reflective and taking in all the sights and senses. In combination with the brash, brutal reality of wartime conflict it can be a little confusing. A bit like watching a black and white silent movie through a periscope with one eye, whilst the other eye is being battered with vivid, colourful and noisy images at the same time.

It's crime, war, conflict and yet at the same time it's also a statement of human inadequacies during times of great upheaval.

Buy The Horseman's Song at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press; pub date Paperback 14 Feb 2019, Kindle pub date 20 Feb 2019,
Buy at Bitter Lemon Press. Follow @bitterlemonpub on Twitter

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