Books: Non-Stop Adventure

CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE — Samuel Shellabarger —Little, Brown ($3).

June 28, 1518 was the name day of Pedro de Vargas in Jaén in Old Spain. It is also the opening date of one of the most torrid, non-stop adventure stories since Anthony Adverse. Captain from Castile begins with Pedro going to confession (he had slept through the Bishop's sermon, and kissed Catana Pérez). The book ends, 633 pages later, with Pedro's bride being prepared by her mother-in-law for the nuptial bed ("And breasts so haughty! . . . Such a figure, too; skin like...

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