When a historian decides to write a historical novel, the arguments shoot up to infinity. It is the case of Jose Luis Corral, Aragonese author who dedicates himself profusely to the genre of historical fiction, alternating it with publications of a clearly informative nature as a good scholar in his area.
Around 20 novels are already treasured by this writer specialized in the medieval but capable of lavishing himself on any other scene of universal history.
The greatest virtue of José Luis Corral is his ability to novelize the story when it plays and to represent fictions or intrahistories inserted in a scrupulously real context.
The passion for what one does, the taste for what one is trained in can lead to that literary art halfway between pedagogy and entertainment, probably the ideal synthesis of what any historical novel worth its salt should be.
Rigorous then but also detached and unleashed in its plots. Writer capable of presenting history as an exciting tale of characters, circumstances, decisions, revolutions, advances and involutions, beliefs and science. History is the unstable balance of the human being's passage through this world. How not to get passionate when it comes to raising a plot of this genre.
José Luis Corral offers in each new novel the commitment of the historian, that kind of scrupulous due practice, made compatible with all of this with a teaching intention that comes more in the living rhythm in which it arises.
3 recommended novels by José Luis Corral
The golden room
The emergence of the professor novelist occurred with this great novel in which its protagonist, a boy named Juan guides us on a fascinating journey through Europe in the Middle Ages.
Juan's experiences are interspersed with the reality of a Europe dotted with diverse cultures full of wealth but bent on conflict as the only form of relationship.
The author's knowledge of the great and the most unknown symbols of both ethnic groups serve to enrich a plot in which Juan advances, managing to escape his fatal destiny as a slave.
From Ukraine to Istanbul, Genoa or Zaragoza, a wonderful journey to decipher yesterday's enigmas that survive as echoes of today.
The heretic doctor
Science and religion. The proposals towards the more realistic knowledge and the beliefs of the shadows, the punishment and the resignation. Certain epochs of humanity experienced a conflict between heaven, science and hell, a difficult mixture capable of dragging heretics into redemptive fires.
The Protestant Reformation threatened the future of Christianity. What the believers on both sides wanted least was for science and its advances to achieve more faithful traces.
But those who discovered so much light in science felt they needed to expose the ultimate truth, at any cost. Miguel Servet was a stubborn scientist. His execution only silenced his echo, but never his voice.
The Austrias. Time in your hands
This novel by José Luis Corral introduced herself as a continuation of his acclaimed Flight of the Eagles. And contrary to what usually happens, I liked this second part even more than the first.
Charles I was crowned to administer the Empire that at that time set the pace for a world in which European sailors still dreamed of new places to colonize. Europe was the center of power and the rest of the continents were being drawn at the whim of the cartographers of the old continent.
In that world, the great Hispanic monarch faced all kinds of setbacks already known through the written legacy of History. But José Luis Corral, an impeccable connoisseur of all those historical vicissitudes, somehow humanizes the figure of the king.
Beyond the titles and formalities, the dates, the official documents and the evocative quotes, Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany (as we were always told at school) was also the son of the indomitable (more than crazy ) Juana and ended up marrying her cousin Isabel de Portugal.
I say all this because History also leaves a trace of the most personal, of the king's feelings, of his way of acting and developing. Knowing Carlos I beyond his strictly historical milestones should be a pleasant task for a historian, and surely José Luis Corral will have known how to capture that "way of being" that slides among all kinds of testimonies of the time, to better outline whether It fits the events and circumstances of the 40-year reign in which he resolved conflicts or led them to war.
Ultimately, The Austrias. Time in your hands, is a novel turned into an exhaustive account of the early years of the emperor, by the hand of this great teacher and connoisseur of history and its stories ...