Los Guardianes del Prado by Javier Alandes


4th May 2022 saw the 60th anniversary of the declaration of the Museo del Prado as an Asset of Cultural Interest, and Valencian writer Javier Alandes published a gripping thriller about the heroic story of a handful of men and women who fought to stop the Nazis from taking the Prado’s treasures.

Valencia 1936: Javier Alandes starts from a historical fact, the transfer of the masterpieces of the Prado Museum to Valencia during the Civil War, and he creates an ingenious novel of intrigue with hints of a thriller ‘
‘Los guardianes del Prado’ is a novel that combines fact and characters with fiction. In an exercise of imagination and documentation, the author offers alternative explanations for historical events that could well have happened in a different way to the official one. Alandes recovers and integrates into the novel one of the great enigmas of our history, the mysterious disappearance of the Republican treasure of the
Vita.
The action set during the Civil War is combined with another that takes place in the very recent past: 1980 and 1981, with the saber rattling that culminated in the 23F.
Both historical moments are linked by an unforgettable character,
the journalist Fernando Poveda, whom the reader follows unhesitatingly through the complex
nooks and crannies of a fascinating investigation.
The characters that underpin the plot of the 1930s are of great strength; the architect Alejandro Santoro, the ambiguous and dangerous Mateo Aguirre, and the young womenElisa Aparisi and Bela Silvero; on the other hand, the ambitious General Gallardo, the fanatical SS-Brigadeführer Jürgen von Schimmer and the smuggler Félix Santurce.

In addition to many other real-life characters, the novel features priceless cameos, Heinrich Himmler, General Queipo de Llano, the writer María Teresa León… and even Francisco Franco.
The recreation of the settings is astonishing, especially the Valencia of the Civil War, unexpected capital of the Republic during some very intense months.
Thanks to the descriptive ability of Javier Alandes, the reader becomes just another passer-by, walking its streets, sitting on its terraces and feeling the fear of the bombardments.
“Los guardianes del Prado is the novel that has been the hardest to write of all the ones I have written so far. The most thorough in terms of documentation, the most complex in terms of structure and the most delicate in terms of plot. Fictionalizing history is a difficult exercise of weaving real facts with fictitious facts, so that everything can fit and the conclusions are plausible. But it is a beautiful loom, which I have enjoyed very much throughout the whole process of creation.
Although there is no point in working on the documentation, structure and plots if you do not embody
the story with characters with a soul. All the fictional characters have been created from scratch, with the utmost affection, and with the intention that when you read this novel, you will feel you needed to know what was going to become of each one of them.
A story is its characters, who become part of our imaginary family, our imaginary family and we want to walk with them along the path of their destiny. ”

At the dawn of the Civil War, Franco entrusts General Gallardo, a man he trusts, to negotiate Nazi Germany’s support for the rebel army. General J ürgen von Schimmer, the German government interlocutor, makes it clear what the price is: for sending in the air force for bombing raids, the rich numismatic collection of the National Archaeological Museum; for sending in the dreaded Reich Army ground troops, Dürer’s Self-Portrait, which is in the Prado and also in the Prado… Las Meninas.
Gallardo accepts such a deal at his own risk and, together with a group of unscrupulous men, he orchestrates a plan to get hold of all this patrimony and hand it over to the Nazis.
Alejandro Santoro is a young Valencian architect who will try to foil the plot.

For information on Javer Alandes and his work, see our article:

http://valencia-international.com/javier-alandes-and-sorolla-fire-and-light/


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