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The Queen of the South Paperback – 5 Aug 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 634 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (5 Aug. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330413147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330413145
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The Queen of the South is the latest in an impressive line of quite mesmerising novels by Arturo Perez-Reverte in which he has refined and enriched a narrative tradition stretching back to his great forbears of the past. In books such as The Fencing Master and The Dumas Club, the author demonstrates that he is a master of finely-honed storytelling techniques, impatient with the thin gruel we are so often served up today, and eager to cram his books with the kind of fastidious detail and exuberant plotting that was once the norm. The latest book has all the panache of its predecessors, with a new ambition--apart from the trials of his beleaguered heroine, we are given the intriguing insights of her mysterious biographer.

Güero Dávila and his lover, the initially docile Teresa Mendoza, are caught up in the drug smuggling activities of the ruthless Mexican cartels. But when Dávila tries to play both ends against the middle, he ends up dead--and Teresa finds herself on the run, in mortal fear for her life. In Spain's sultry and dangerous city of Melilla, she encounters another man engaged in the drugs trade, the dispassionate Galicain Santiago Fisterta. He draws her into his activities, and Teresa is soon involved in the hashish trade. But her destiny is not to be the ugly, meaningless death of Dávila; she is a woman who will achieve a remarkable reputation--if she can stay alive.

It isn't just the impeccable scene-setting of this dangerous Latin world that makes The Queen of the South such an impressive read; it's also the perfectly judged dialogue (of which there is a great deal)--Perez-Reverte is a master of idiom, and everything here rings true. The compelling central narrative of Teresa is set against the perceptions of her anonymous narrator, and the result is a fascinating mélange; over-ornate, perhaps, but always utterly involving. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Stylish adventure novel..relish the canny plotting, nail-shredding action sequences, the host of salty, pungent characters - and the splendid translation -- The Independent, 16 September 2005

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Top Customer Reviews

By A. Ross TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
After carving out a solid niche for himself in the "intellectual thriller" genre by writing a number of entertainments (some good, some not) revolving around the arcane and esoteric, bestselling Spanish novelist Perez-Reverte shifts gears here with a book that is neither thriller nor obsessed with high culture paraphernalia. Quite the contrary, this is the tale of a poor, uneducated Mexican girl who, over the course of twelve years, manages to become a hugely wealthy narcotics transporter. The story of Theresa Mendoza is told partially from her perspective as events happen, and partially by an investigative reporter who is trying to write a book about her and is interviewing anyone once connected to her. Before becoming a novelist, Perez-Reverte was a well-known journalist, and his former profession informs the entire book as his fictional journalist connects the dots, from Sinaloa, Mexico to Morocco to Marbella, Spain. Some readers seem not to care for the alternating voices, but it adds much needed depth and texture to what is otherwise a fairly flat and straightforward rags to riches story.
However, unlike most gutter to penthouse tales, Theresa is not a character who always had large dreams and wanted to be "king of the world". Rather, her story shows her to be an emotionally dead soul who does whatever it takes to survive in the harsh environment she inhabits. While this is a nice change of pace from the usual Scarface hysterics, her cool reserve also means that there's no way for the reader to connect with her (unless you, too, have been on the run from hitmen). Which is not to say that she isn't believable, it's just that she's a character with a single motivation, survival, and this one track detachment gets kind of lame as she grows more and more powerful.
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Format: Paperback
I am a big Perez-Reverte fan, and have read most if not all of his books that have been translated into English. So I was really looking forward to reading this big book (430 pages or so in hardback).
This is not however the Perez-Reverte of The Fencing Master or The Dumas Club, but clearly shows the author branching out into a different style. Whilst well-researched and elegantly written, the story of a Mexican woman who gets mixed up in the world of drugs and gangsters is told in a journalistic, slow-paced, semi-biographical style which one can admire without enjoying.
I gave up this novel half way through, and hope that Mr Perez-Reverte hasn't totally forsaken the style of his earlier work.
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Format: Paperback
Best read of the year, engrossing and gripping. The fact that so much of the action takes place in a part of Spain most English know so well adds to the drama. The late night drug busting sea crossings did detract a little from the rythm of the story but over all I could not put the book down.
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Format: Paperback
The drug trade throughout Mexico, Latin America, and the Mediterranean come alive in this Arturo Perez-Reverte novel, quite different from his intellectual mysteries. Here he writes the "biography" of Teresa Mendoza, a young woman from Sinaloa, Mexico, who becomes the mastermind of a multimillion dollar drug empire operating from Marbella, Spain. This novel's challenge lies not in an intellectual puzzle, but in understanding the business networks Teresa builds with drug lords from Russia, Italy, Morocco, and Colombia, along with various agents of government whom she buys off. As she becomes a successful businesswoman, known as "The Queen of the South," the suspense develops: Will she stay alive? And how?
The story begins in Mexico when Teresa is twenty-three. Uneducated but attractive, she is in love with Guero Davila, a Chicano pilot involved in shipping coca. When she suddenly receives a phone call telling her to run for her life, she does so, escaping through Mexico City into Spain, and then Morocco. Putting her knowledge of drug transportation to work by involving herself in hash-running between Morocco and Spain, she ends up with a short jail sentence but an important friendship with another inmate, Patty O'Farrell, the rebellious daughter of a wealthy Spanish family. When they are released, they set up a big-time drug trafficking business, with Teresa running the show and becoming, eventually, the person with whom everyone in the business must deal.
Teresa's story is not told in linear fashion. An unnamed speaker/narrator, presumably Perez-Reverte himself, has come to Sinaloa to investigate and describe Teresa Mendoza's life and business. Interviewing everyone with any information, he inserts himself and his interviews into the narrative.
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By Brian R. Martin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
This is story of Teresa Mendoza, a young woman from Sinaloa, Mexico, as told by herself, interwoven with a reconstruction by a journalist who is researching for a book about her. This is an interesting device, but not wholly successful, as `fact' tends to get blurred with `fiction'. Teresa is the lover of Guero Davila, a drug smuggling pilot who works for a local Mexican drug boss. The action starts when Guero is caught smuggling drugs on his own account and is murdered. The `custom' is then to kill the victim's entire family and close friends to prevent them seeking revenge, and to teach others a lesson. Theresa receives a phone call to say she is next, and with the help of a powerful friend of Guero's, she flees and makes her way to southern Spanish.

The experience changes Teresa. She remakes her life with a new determination never again to be pawn in others plans, and to do whatever it takes to survive. Because of this she loses some of her humanity, and as a character she steadily becomes less sympathetic. She meets a new lover, Santiago Fisterra, who trafficks hashish across the Straight of Gibraltar in fast-moving power boats. Teresa becomes a full partner of Santiago, including sharing the dangers of the crossings. These `adventures' are well described in graphic detail and are clearly the result of considerable research. All goes well until during a particularly hectic chase by boats and a helicopter of the Spanish customs, their powerboat crashes and Santiago is killed. Teresa survives, but serves time in prison.

Here she meets Patty, the `black sheep' of a wealthy Spanish family and a drug dealer herself.
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