In 1988, twenty years ago, Arturo Perez-Reverte wrote a marvelously complex novel entitled El maestro de esgrima (The Fencing Master). The project of that novel was to show how certain traditional Spanish values and attitudes were threatened by contemporary realities. The protagonist, the talented and socially withdrawn Don Jaime de Astarloa, is a gentleman of the ideal "caballero-hidalgo" type, a fencing master, who is nearly killed defending his values, single-handedly, against a major transnational conspiracy being played out during the political turmoil of the late 19th century. Perez-Reverte shows that by then it had become extremely difficult to be an honorable man in the traditional sense, to lead a provite life devoted to an art, like fencing, and especially to deal as an individual with the complexities of modem intrigue.
Turner, Thomas C., "FLARR Pages #60: Lady Assassins in Spain? A Psychological and Cultural Profile of Perez-Reverte's Dona Adela de Otero" (2008). FLARR Pages. 55.