The Sadness of the Samurai (La Tristeza del Samurái)

 She was only a puppet in a complex and bloody conspiracy of power and revenge that has lasted for three generations… until now. 

María Bengoechea is a young and cold lawyer in Spain during the transition who, in the last days of her life, wants to redeem her biggest mistake: incarcerating inspector César Alcalá without proof for having tortured a man (who had kidnapped Alcalá’s daughter) until he left him in a coma. This case launched María to professional success five years ago. When María puts together the pieces of the puzzle, she finds out about the terrible mistake that she made with César Alcalá, and she realizes that she was only a puppet in a complex and bloody conspiracy of power and revenge that has lasted for three generations.

It all started thirty years before. In Extremadura in 1941, Isabel, a beautiful aristocrat who organizes secret meetings against Franco’s regime, is part of a conspiracy to murder her own husband, Guillermo Mola, an important chief of the Falange. It is all coordinated by Gabriel Bengoechea, Isabel’s lover, but he then betrays her and kills her. The lover turned out to be an infiltrates spy hired by Guillermo Mola, Isabel’s husband. When she is about to escape, she is arrested, tortured and executed. They take her baby son Andrés Mola from her. Marcelo Alcalá, the boy’s teacher, is used as the scapegoat, and he is unjustly accused of having murdered Isabel. After Isabel’s death, Guillermo Mola sends his oldest son to Russia with the blue division, and he neglects little Andrés, putting him in a psychiatric hospital and turning him into a monster. Publio, Guillermo Mola’s right hand, has made a great effort to silence any witness of Isabel’s murder so that Guillermo can become one of Franco’s most important ministers.

In the dawn of the coup d’état of 1981 – in which Publio is involved -, when María Bengoechea is about to find out the truth, she is diagnosed with a brain tumor, and they give her only a few weeks of life. María decides to make her best efforts to help César Alcalá to escape the prison of La Modelo and take her daughter back.
Andrés, Guillermo Mola’s son, kidnapped César Alcalá’s daughter and she is being tortured to redeem the sins of her grandfather, Marcelo Alcalá, for having murdered his mother Isabel. María finds out that it was Gabriel Bengoechea, her own father, Isabel Mola’s lover and the actual murderer. She gathers up all the hints to uncover Publio, the responsible for creating a big political corruption plot to cover a murder with consequences in three later generations.


RELEVANT DATA: The Sadness of the Samurai has been a big success among the audience and the critics. It was awarded with the Le Prix du Polar Européen a la mejor novela negra europea.

Far from being a mere compilation of stories about Francoism and its intrigues, the author manages to recreate the historical events through the daily lives of its characters. In fact, the characters of this story are the actual power of the novel.

Critics assure: “There is just one author that can face the Scandinavian noir stories: that is Víctor del Árbol”.

Among the many prizes he has been given, one can highlight the Nadal Award, the Tormo Negro Award of Detective Stories  and the Quercy Noir Award.


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

AVAILABLE IN: English, French, Romanian, Italian, Polish, Dutch, Portuguese, Hebrew, Spanish.

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