Cervantes Street

Cervantes StreetDuring those years, I felt as though I were living in the future, in a city that had nothing to do with the rest of Spain. Pícaros from every corner of the world—false clerics, false scholars, impostors of every imaginable and unimaginable kind, pickpockets, swindlers, counterfeiters, sword swallowers, gamblers, assassins for hire, soldiers of fortune, murderers of every sort, whores, Don Juans (whose profession was to ruin the most beautiful and chaste maidens), Gypsies, fortune-tellers, fire-eaters, forgerers, puppeteers, ruffians, bon vivants, and snake charmers—came to Seville and made the city their stage. Life there was dangerous and thrilling, as festive and bloody as a bullfight. Successful gamblers were as admired as the bullfighters or famous military heroes. It was common to hear a child say that when he grew up he wanted to be a gambler like Manolo Amor, who on one occasion had gambled away an entire fleet of galleons that was not his. Seville was the place where I belonged. It was created for me and I wanted to be its historian. Seville was mine and it owned me.

Jaime ManriqueThe actual facts of Miguel de Cervantes's life seem to be snatched from an epic tale: an impoverished and talented young poet nearly kills a man in a duel and is forced into exile; later, he distinguishes himself in battle and is severely wounded, losing the use of his left hand; on his way back to Spain his ship is captured by pirates and he is sold into slavery in Algiers; after prolonged imprisonment and failed escape attempts, he makes his way back home, eventually settling in a remote village in La Mancha to create his masterpiece, the first modern novel in Western literature: Don Quixote.

Taking the bare bones of Cervantes' life, Jaime Manrique has accomplished a singular feat: an engaging and highly accessible take on a brilliant, enigmatic man and his epoch. This is an archetypal tale of rivalry and revenge—featuring Cervantes's antagonistic relationship with the man who would go on to write his own sequel to Don Quixote—that is sure to garner comparisons to Peter Shaffer's Amadeus, Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, and, with its extraordinary recreation of the life and times of Cervantes, to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.

PRAISE FOR Cervantes Street

"A sprawling vivacious big-hearted novel. Manrique is fantastically talented and this is perhaps his masterpiece."

-Junot Díaz

"Jaime Manrique has written an exceptional historical novel, recreating with imagination and detailed accuracy the world of Late Renaissance in Spain. Manrique's rendering of the life of Cervantes is brilliant, and his solution to the mystery of who wrote the false Quixote is fascinating, and very persuasive."

-Edith Grossman

"Cervantes Street is exciting to read...Under Mr. Manrique's pen, the world of renaissance Spain and the Mediterranean is made vivid, its surface cracking with sudden violence and cruelty...This novel can be read as a generous salute across the centuries from one writer to another, as a sympathetic homage and recommendation...Cervantes Street brings to life the real world behind the fantastic exploits of the knight of La Mancha. The comic mishaps are funnier for being based in fact. The romantic adventures are more affecting. Cervantes Street has sent me back to Don Quixote."

-The Wall Street Journal

English Editions

New York: Akashic Books, Hardcover, 2012.

New York: Akashic Books, Trade Paperback, 2012.

New York: Akashic Books, Kindle eBook, 2012.

Audible Studios, Audio Book, 2013.

Purchase this book on Amazon