The Merchant of Death (El mercader de la muerte)

The luxurious story of the assistant to the leading weapon trafficker in 20th century Europe.

Monaco, 1930s. Spanish journalist José Ortega travels to Montecarlo to interview Alfonso XIII and regain his lost prestige in the media. In a country where luxury and excess are found in its every nook and cranny, José Ortega is unable to find the monarch. However, a small mishap in the casino will lead him to Basil Zaharoff; Europe´s largest weapon trafficker. Basil is an enigmatic old man, engulfed by a black legend, who is writing his memoirs… memoirs that could be of great use for European powers, as it has the secret formula for creating the atomic bomb´s predecessor.

Ortega is unaware of just how powerful and infamous Zaharoff is, which is why he doesn´t think twice about becoming his assistant. They become acomplices, and Ortega will slowly be introduced to Zaharoff´s history and who he really is. Through both personal testimonies and many of the members that surround him Ortega will learn that Zaharoff provided weapons to all sides of the same war. Little by little, Ortega will notice Zaharoff´s relevance in politics, and will simultaneously be offered huge amounts of money in exchange for stealing his memoirs.

Ortega uncovers an entire underground world of spies, scheming and vengeance in an eccentric and wild setting, frequently visited by top celebrities such as Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Channel, or even Carlota Grimaldi of Monaco, who is sexually attracted to Ortega. In this way, he will end up involved in the social-political weavings and dealings of the time, and he will be caught between a rock and a hard place when he has to decide between giving in to the blackmail of the high command of power (and betraying his new friend), or remaining faithful to the man who is providing him with sustenance in this city unknown to him and from which he is unable to leave.

Zaharoff will end up being betrayed by one of his most faithful men, but Zaharoff will let Ortega know that he has been using him all along to unmask all those people around him who were plotting all schemes to steal his memoirs and sell the patent of the bomb to the world powers. To thank him for his faithful company, Zaharoff will give Ortega the chance to return to Spain.

A story of spies, betrayals and conspiracies in one of the most exorbitant countries in the world and dealing with the biggest weapons trafficker in interwar Europe.


RELEVANT DATA: Based on real events, Gervasio Posadas brings a well-constructed and layered character to life; a character who is enveloped in some of 20th century Europe´s most incredible adventures.

The Merchant of Death (El mercader de la muerte), was published in September 2020, and was directly put on El Corte Ingles´ Book of the Month list. It has received an enormous amount of positive reviews, thanks to its quality and character construction.


What the critics have said:

«A raw journey of life, from Constantinople to Monte Carlo, narrated with rare elegance and reads like the best mystery stories». Lorenzo Silva

«Addictive, fun, intriguing… one of those books you just can´t put down». Amazon

«All the stories that are told here, as well as the role of Coco Chanel, Stavisky, Alfonso XIII, the Grimaldi family and the long etcetera of secondary characters that parade through its pages make The Merchant of Death (El mercader de la muerte) one of those books that one is eager to return home to immerse oneself in». Carmen Posadas in XLSemanal


AUDIOVISUAL POTENTIAL: TV Series, Miniseries, Film, TV Movie.


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