The Queen of the South Paperback – 5 Aug 2005
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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.
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 2005See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Certainlly unsual take on this issue. I think it requires a certain suspension of belief but none the less a page turner.Published 10 months ago by mareign
Similar to Don Winslow's Power of The Dog, this book is brilliant and if you're actually interested in the drug trade you will appreciate the detail. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Jana
It's not my usual cup of tea but I came across it and just couldn't put it down, you could almost smell the sea between the lines and visualise the scenes of Mexico and Spain, hear... Read morePublished on 10 May 2014 by L. DEE
It loved this book just as much as the tv show grate I was in Mexico when reading it made me love the place even morePublished on 27 Jan. 2013 by zack
A beautifully written text with characters rich in reality and depth. This is writing direct from the heart and that's where it ends up.Published on 18 Mar. 2010 by Mr. I. Walsh
The first fifty pages are so good that nothing else matters. First rate writing. Towards the end APR has fallen in love with his hero and wants her to live, as do we, but one cant... Read morePublished on 12 Mar. 2010 by Wordy