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José Luis Corral. El Cid (novel, 2016)

MichaelC

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023: Via Francigena, Lucca to Rome
The epic poem El Cid starts with the medieval Christian knight Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (El Cid) being exiled from Castille. The first part of the poem is lost. This modern novel tries to recreate the man behind the myth, and spends the first third in the Christian kingdoms of northern Spain - Galicia, Castille, Leon, Navarre, Pamplona, and La Rioja. The reviews say it's based on solid historical research.

The Camino, and the pilgrims on it, are a constant background presence in the novel. The kings attempt to conquer each other's territories under the guise of "protecting the pilgrims on the way to Santiago," they build churches and facilities for the pilgrims to win popularity, and they travel up and down the Camino on their way to weddings, wars, and royal councils.

After the first third El Cid heads south and fight for the Muslim taifa kingdoms, and we leave the Camino Frances behind.

This is a solid historical novel. It doesn't quite make history or the characters come alive like the great historical novels do, but it also avoids being bloated or melodramatic like the worst. I'd give it three stars, but I loved reading about all the towns we had walked through on the CF, so I'm giving it four.
 
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MichaelC

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023: Via Francigena, Lucca to Rome
I am curious if this novel has been translated into English. Do you know? I haven't been able to find it.
I just looked around - I guess none of this guy's novels have been translated. Spanish lit is weird sometimes - a lot of good, best-selling authors never get English translations, while a lot of mediocre authors do.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
The epic poem El Cid starts with the medieval Christian knight Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (El Cid) being exiled from Castille. The first part of the poem is lost. This modern novel tries to recreate the man behind the myth, and spends the first third in the Christian kingdoms of northern Spain - Galicia, Castille, Leon, Navarre, Pamplona, and La Rioja. The reviews say it's based on solid historical research.

The Camino, and the pilgrims on it, are a constant background presence in the novel. The kings attempt to conquer each other's territories under the guise of "protecting the pilgrims on the way to Santiago," they build churches and facilities for the pilgrims to win popularity, and they travel up and down the Camino on their way to weddings, wars, and royal councils.

After the first third El Cid heads south and fight for the Muslim taifa kingdoms, and we leave the Camino Frances behind.

This is a solid historical novel. It doesn't quite make history or the characters come alive like the great historical novels do, but it also avoids being bloated or melodramatic like the worst. I'd give it three stars, but I loved reading about all the towns we had walked through on the CF, so I'm giving it four.
I see you will be starting the Via Francigena in Lucca. What a fantastic town. Awesome food. If you have a few extra days you should stay there and eat gluttonously!!!
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Going September 2022
The epic poem El Cid starts with the medieval Christian knight Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (El Cid) being exiled from Castille. The first part of the poem is lost. This modern novel tries to recreate the man behind the myth, and spends the first third in the Christian kingdoms of northern Spain - Galicia, Castille, Leon, Navarre, Pamplona, and La Rioja. The reviews say it's based on solid historical research.

The Camino, and the pilgrims on it, are a constant background presence in the novel. The kings attempt to conquer each other's territories under the guise of "protecting the pilgrims on the way to Santiago," they build churches and facilities for the pilgrims to win popularity, and they travel up and down the Camino on their way to weddings, wars, and royal councils.

After the first third El Cid heads south and fight for the Muslim taifa kingdoms, and we leave the Camino Frances behind.

This is a solid historical novel. It doesn't quite make history or the characters come alive like the great historical novels do, but it also avoids being bloated or melodramatic like the worst. I'd give it three stars, but I loved reading about all the towns we had walked through on the CF, so I'm giving it four.
There is also the series on Netflix “ El CID” that’s very good. I’m Spanish ( you can get subtitles) 👍
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023: Via Francigena, Lucca to Rome
Follow up: I should have learned by now not to post book reviews until I've finished a book! Once the action in the José Luis Corral moved south I lost interest, and didn't finish the novel.

I didn't want to give up on el Cid, though, so I turned to the Burton Raffael translation of the original epic. I thought this was provided a really interesting insight into the mind set of medieval Spain. It's a short read, and worthwhile.

And finally, I also read Sidi by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (2019). This novel only deals with el Cid's days in exile and his days leading the army of the Muslim taifa kingdom of Zaragoza. I don't recall any references to the Camino itself, though the Christian knights do fight on behalf of Christ and Santiago. I think Pérez-Reverte is one of Spain's best modern authors, and would easily recommend this book.

He's also widely translated! It should be easy to find a copy in your language of choice.
 

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