Author(s): Javier Cercas; Anne McLean (Translator)
The International Bestseller of the Spanish Civil War - Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
In the final moments of the Spanish Civil War, fifty prominent Nationalist prisoners are executed by firing squad. Among them is the writer and fascist Rafael Sanchez Mazas. As the guns fire, he escapes into the forest, and can hear a search party and their dogs hunting him down. The branches move and he finds himself looking into the eyes of a militiaman, and faces death for the second time that day.
But the unknown soldier simply turns and walks away. Sanchez Mazas becomes a national hero and the soldier disappears into history. As Cercas sifts the evidence to establish what happened, he realises that the true hero may not be Sanchez Mazas at all, but the soldier who chose not to shoot him. Who was he? Why did he spare him? And might he still be alive?
Winner of the 2004 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Over 500,000 copies sold worldwide to date For fans of Embers Promoted in a Waterstones summer 3 for 2 campaign
Javier Cercas was born in 1962. He is a novelist, short story writer and essayist, whose books include El Vientrede la ballena (The Belly of the Whale, 1997) and Relatos Reales (True Tales, 2000). He has taught at the University of Illinois and since 1989 has been a lecturer in Spanish literature at the University of Gerona.