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Calderon the Courtier, a Tale   By: (1803-1873)

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Calderon the Courtier, a Tale by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, is a mesmerizing and thought-provoking historical novel that takes readers on a captivating journey into the magnificent world of 17th-century Spain. Set during the reign of King Philip IV, the story follows the life of the protagonist, Don Calderon, a talented courtier who strives to balance power, love, and honor.

The author's meticulous research and attention to detail make the novel a rich and immersive experience. From the vibrant descriptions of the royal court to the bustling streets of Madrid, Bulwer-Lytton skillfully paints a vivid picture of the cultural, political, and social aspects of the era. Readers will find themselves transported and fully immersed in the sumptuous settings, feeling as if they are witnessing the events firsthand.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this book is the depth and complexity of its characters. Calderon, the central figure, is a multifaceted and intriguing individual whose ambitions and desires are constantly challenged by the rigid hierarchy of the court. As he navigates the treacherous landscape of power, he is forced to make difficult choices that will shape his future and the lives of those around him. The author expertly captures Calderon's internal struggles, making him a relatable and sympathetic protagonist.

Furthermore, the supporting cast is equally well-developed, each adding their own unique flavor to the narrative. Whether it is the cunning and devious Duchess of Olivarez or the loyal and steadfast Juan de Taxis, every character feels authentic and contributes to the intricate web of relationships that unfolds throughout the story.

Bulwer-Lytton's prose is elegant, and his words flow effortlessly, drawing readers into the story from the very first page. His mastery of language creates a distinct ambiance, whether through the scents of a bustling marketplace or the opulence of the royal palace. Moreover, the author's keen observations of human nature and his exploration of themes such as love, loyalty, and the search for identity add an additional layer of depth to the narrative.

Despite the novel's remarkable qualities, it is not without its flaws. At times, the pacing seems sluggish, particularly during detailed historical explanations, which may deter readers seeking a more action-packed adventure. Additionally, the book's length and complex narrative may require a certain level of patience and commitment from its readers.

In conclusion, Calderon the Courtier is a wonderful historical novel that offers a mesmerizing glimpse into the captivating world of 17th-century Spain. With its striking characters, exquisite prose, and meticulous attention to detail, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton has crafted a tale that will delight fans of historical fiction. Whether you are an avid reader of the genre or simply seeking an immersive and evocative story, this novel is a compelling choice.

First Page:





CHAPTER I. The Antechamber

CHAPTER II. The Lover and the Confidant


CHAPTER IV. Civil Ambition, and Ecclesiastical

CHAPTER V. The true Fate of Morgana

CHAPTER VI. Web upon Web

CHAPTER VII. The open Countenance, the concealed Thoughts


CHAPTER IX. The Counterplot

CHAPTER X. We reap what we sow

CHAPTER XI. Howsoever the Rivers wind, the Ocean receives them All




The Tragi Comedy of Court Intrigue, which had ever found its principal theatre in Spain since the accession of the House of Austria to the throne, was represented with singular complication of incident and brilliancy of performance during the reign of Philip the Third. That monarch, weak, indolent, and superstitious, left the reins of government in the hands of the Duke of Lerma. The Duke of Lerma, in his turn, mild, easy, ostentatious, and shamefully corrupt, resigned the authority he had thus received to Roderigo Calderon, an able and resolute upstart, whom nature and fortune seemed equally to favour and endow. But, not more to his talents, which were great, than to the policy of religious persecution which he had supported and enforced, Roderigo Calderon owed his promotion... Continue reading book >>

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