[From the title page]
"Man loves malice, but not against one-eyed men, nor the unfortunate, but against the fortunate and the proud. People are mistaken in thinking otherwise."
[Dust Jacket flap text]
"A powerful, haunting novel that lays bare the brutal world of bullfighting– and captures its rare moments of fleeting glory.
The big Mercedes sped through the sweltering Andalusian night, leaving one bullring behind, heading for another. Dozing fitfully in the back seat was Juan Ramon Vasquez, Spain's leading matador. To his American friend beside him, the bullfighter's face reflected the grinding pressure imposed on him – pressures that were being applied from a variety of different sources and that were increasing daily.
For Juan Ramon, goaded by his own competitors, his own pride, and the insatiable, many-headed beast in the stands that worshipped him one day and spat on him the next, was driving himself beyond the limits of human endurance. Only the American and a handful of others close to the bullfighter knew what fears were disturbing this man on his lonely quest – his father on his deathbed, his wide expecting their second child, an ex-mistress filled with bitterness, and another who wouldn't let him go.
Now, riding into the approaching dawn, the American knew Juan Ramon would enter the corrida that afternoon, proud and erect, oblivious to the insults of the crowd, ready again to pit his bravery and knowledge against the youth and the classic style of his young rival, Ortega. He also knew that Vasquez would be forced to expose himself to greater dangers than ever before, just as he knew that when the inevitable cornada happened he would be watching from behind the barrier, powerless to help.
Mr. Viertel has stripped away the surface glamour and phony mystique of the matador's life, wuthout sacrificing its moments of genuine magic. With consummate mastery he portrays the forces which can drive a man to towering heights – and to the inevitable destruction of his own myth.
Peter Viertel was born in Germany and grew up in southern California. He served with the Marines in the South Pacific and with the O.S.S. during World War II. A successful novelist and screenwriter, Mr. Viertel lives in Switzerland with his wife, actress Deborah Kerr."
[Below: photo from the dusk jacket]