Vicente Puchol
Vicente Puchol



Great Dane


Synopsis: Great Dane

A newly minted civil servant is sent to an unknown city. His destination surrounds a plateau, where historic monuments sit cheek-by-jowl with the most modern buildings. Atop the plateau, in the middle of an unpopulated expanse of land, rises a decrepit fortress of uncertain age. City Hall threatens the duke who owns the fortress with expropriation if he does not restore it at his own expense, but he is bankrupt.


The duke then conceives of a double-cross. He will pretend to bring back the historical protocols of the ducal court and of the knighthood, which are linked by canon to the fortress. Thus, he begins to toy with the “cult of appearances” and to manipulate the politicians’ vanity in order to convince them to help prevent the expropriation of his fortress; to this end, he makes much of his eagerness to conserve the ancient building.


In reality, however, his plan is to blow the fortress to bits, becoming in the process the owner of the building site as well as of the vast terrain that surrounds it. The catch is that he must also distance himself from any suspicions that he is, in fact, the bomber. At the duchess’s whim, the civil servant becomes chamberlain; it is he who witnesses and recounts all of the duke’s intrigues to us, the readers.


Author's Note: This is the definitive version of the first edition of the novel, which was originally published as The Great Dane.


great dane