a longer time than all my life has been since. No, certainly, it was not so much as a minute. The hoarse screaming of those miserable wretches died out in their dry throats, and then suddenly a voice spoke, a deep voice muttering calmly. It called upon me to turn round.
"That voice, senores, proceeded from the head of Gaspar Ruiz. Of his body I could see nothing. Some of his fellow-captives had clambered upon his back. He was holding them up. His eyes blinked without looking at me. That and the moving of his lips was all he seemed able to manage in his overloaded state. And when I turned round, this head, that seemed more than human size resting on its chin under a multitude of other heads, asked me whether I really desired to quench the thirst of the captives.
"I said, 'Yes, yes!' eagerly, and came up quite close to the window. I was like a child, and did not know what would happen. I was anxious to be comforted in my helplessness and remorse.
"'Have you the authority, senor teniente, to release my
A kind of a mini Lord Jim. Gaspar is a Chilean peasant, known for his great strength. He's drafted by the rebels (Republicans) trying to overthrow the Spanish rulers, and is captured by the Royalists. When he's recaptured by the Republicans, he's called a deserter, and executed by a firing squad. Later, after he heals, he switches sides.
The poor schmuck never wanted to fight in the first place, and he is inexorably shoved towards his doom.
I liked it better than the other reviewer.
Curiously uninvolving tale of a gentle giant who deserts and ends up fighting on both sides (republican/royalist) of a Spanish/Chilian (sic) conflict; part war-adventure, part-love story. Told in the third person as a recollection, and decades after the events, Ruiz (for me, at any rate) never comes alive.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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