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Robert Italia
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The Painter of Battles

The Painter of Battles - Margaret Sayers Peden, Arturo PĂ©rez-Reverte This is a story that had to be written. The painter of battles used to be a photographer of battles. But after a time, there was a need for him to process all that he'd seen in war. So he bought a tower on a hill and proceeded to make a war mural to capture the realism of the geometry and laws of war. It's here that the subject of one of his war photographs seeks him out for revenge. Markovik, the subject of the photograph, felt that the photo had ruined his life. Markovik has been stalking Falques and trying to understand him through his photos, but he feels the need to talk to him to answer his own questions about war and life and how they intersect. Still, he intends to kill Falques when he gets what he came for.

The story is largely told as flashback memories of the people and places Falques photographed and the war paintings he has identified with. Is war an inevitable product of intelligence? Is it proof that we're all one step away from being barbarians instead of civilized beings? Is war something within all of us? These are not easy questions to answer.

Many people feel that this book would have done better as a short story or as a shorter novella. I have to admit there there's more thinking here than there is action. This is a very cerebral book. There are moments where you find yourself immersed in the book and moments you feel as if you're slogging through it, but it's a book that needs to be read.

Note: While I critique both purchased and free books in the same way, I'm legally obligated to tell you I received this book free through the Amazon Vine program in return for my review. Blah blah blah.