El Conocimiento de Embarque by Sergio Martínez: “The bill of lading is the only maritime document which still has to be made by deed in writing”
Expert in International Maritime Law, Sergio Martínez de Maturana, returns to Algeciras to present his first book, a novel of intrigue, love and espionage in ‘El Conocimiento de Embarque’
“The telephone startled Mariano as he carefully read a deed of sale for a property on the Costa del Sol…” Thus begins “El conocimiento de embarque” (“The bill of lading”), the first literary incursion by lawyer Sergio Martínez de Maturana, who currently works and resides in Copenhagen (Denmark) who presented the book in his hometown of Algeciras this June.
As the synopsis states, “El conocimiento de embarque” brings together the characteristics of mystery and spy novels, “leaving aside the conventions of the genre to develop a thrilling tale of intrigue, love and suspense based on historical facts”. According to the author, the novel has no aim other than to entertain and to get the reader “hooked” with short chapters and plenty of action.
The protagonist, Mariano del Río, shares characteristics with the author and the “black legend that has always haunted us Spaniards outside of Spain, and against which we have to fight daily, because it costs us money among other things… Outside of Spain, it still costs an Anglo-Saxon or a Nordic person twice as much to be taken seriously and access positions of responsibility, and I say that from experience.”
As an expert in International Maritime Law, he has a long career that has taken him to work in legal scenarios as diverse and far removed from his comfort zone – Gibraltar, India or Panama – Martínez de Maturana combines his fondness for Nordic crime novels and English-language bestsellers, such as those written by Grisham or Le Carré, with his interest in history, passion for travel and his own professional experience, to produce his first literary venture.
“I’ve travelled a lot, and Mariano, who is an atypical protagonist and the only Spaniard in the novel, has been informed by many of my experiences”, he says.
He has been sure about the original and resounding title of his first work right from the start, although some lawyer friends suggested he change it, since it is a very specific term and quite unknown outside of the legal sector.
“I considered an alternative title, but it was the publisher that told me to leave it that way, because it added personality”, he explains, adding that the bill of lading is still the only maritime legal document that is still issued on paper, because it is a negotiable document that grants ownership to its holder.
The plot of Mariano del Río’s first adventure starts in a Gibraltarian legal chamber and revolves around a mysterious box sent from Nazi Germany which never reached its destination. His second adventure still remains a secret, although the author announced he has already written more than 120 pages, and that the title will also be related to transport.
Martínez de Maturana, who closely follows the news of the Strait as a columnist and Campogibraltarian, denounces the “unfortunate and distressing situation” of Algeciras and the rest of the region in terms of infrastructure (“perhaps because we don’t fully believe our enormous potential, despite having the most important port in the Mediterranean in terms of container traffic”).
His friends Sebastián Díaz Rivas y Agustín del Valle accompanied him at the presentation of his book in Algeciras. Del Valle was also pleased that the novel reasserted the professional figure of the archivist, a necessary profession that “helps to clarify the past”.
Sergio Pérez Martínez de Maturana (Algeciras, 1972) has a bachelor’s degree in Law. Since 2012 he has collaborated with publishing group ‘Andalucía Información’, writing weekly articles for their Campo de Gibraltar publication. His literary career began with poetry and he has won several literary competitions at the Complutense University of Madrid. He currently works as a senior lawyer in a shipping company in Copenhagen (Denmark).
‘El conocimiento de embarque’ (The bill of lading) is his first novel and he is currently planning a new adventure for the book’s main character, Mariano del Río.
The book costs €18 and you can buy it at the ‘Libreria Silva’ (a bookshop situated in Algeciras) or upon request at any bookshop using the reference ISBN 978-84-17393-84-7.
You can also purchase it on AMAZON