The Horseman’s Song by Ben Pastor is another installment in the mystery series of Wehrmacht Officer Martin von Bora–this book is a prequel to the following five books in the series. This latest is set in Spain, 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. Bora investigates the murder of poet Garcia Lorca.
I have not read any of the other books in the series, but easily became familiar with Bora due to the excellent writing. I am fairly impressed with not only the writing, but the story line and character development as well.
Pastor begins the book with Bora finding Lorca’s body and developing the plot from there. She vividly describes the scene and gets the reader engaged immediately.
Not only is the story line well thought out, but the character development is just as strong. Pastor portrays Bora in a mainly positive light, but she also shows his weaknesses–including where he needs to gain more wisdom. I also appreciate her equal attention to Boras’ opponent–fellow “investigator” Philip “Felipe” Walton, an American volunteer fighting for the communists/anarchists/socialists.
Although Walton is cast in a bit of a more negative light, the reader can relate to him. His hardscrabble life in the United States embitters Walton and leads him from various battlefields, including Western Europe during World War I, to Spain. Pastor expertly weaves Walton’s disappointments in life into his current relationships.
Despite Bora’s many doubts, he doggedly pursues the killer of Lorca and eventually succeeds–despite the many obstacles placed in his way by his own side and the communists.
The book is a good story set during a turbulent time in Spain.