The Sadness of the Samurai (Henry Holt and Co. 2012) by Victor del Arbol


A betrayal and a murder in pro-Nazi Spain spark a struggle for power that grips a family for generations in this sweeping historical thriller

Fierce, edgy, brisk, and enthralling, this brilliant novel by Victor del Árbol pushes the boundaries of the traditional historical novel and in doing so creates a work of incredible power that resonates long after the last page has been turned.

When Isabel, a Spanish aristocrat living in the pro-Nazi Spain of 1941, becomes involved in a plot to kill her Fascist husband, she finds herself betrayed by her mysterious lover. The effects of her betrayal play out in a violent struggle for power in both family and government over three generations, intertwining her story with that of a young lawyer named Maria forty years later. During the attempted Fascist coup of 1981, Maria is accused of plotting the prison escape of a man she successfully prosecuted for murder. As Maria’s and Isabel’s narratives unfold they encircle each other, creating a page-turning literary thriller firmly rooted in history. (Henry Holt and Co.)

Victor del Árbol holds a degree in history from the University of Barcelona. He has worked for Catalonia’s police force since 1992. In 2006, he won the Tiflos de Novela Award for The Weight of the Dead. The Sadness of the Samurai (original title: La tristeza del samurai) is his first novel to be translated into English.

You can find HERE a review in Spanish, and a review in English is HERE.

2 thoughts on “The Sadness of the Samurai (Henry Holt and Co. 2012) by Victor del Arbol”

  1. José Ignacio – This sounds like an interesting premise. And this seems like one of those novels that blur the distinction between “literary” novels and “genre” novels.

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