Book Review: Estimated Time of Arrest (ETA)

The abbreviation ETA reflects the fate of one of the main characters,  Lorenzo Lartaun Izcoa. However, ETA of course, also stands for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna. The author, Delphine Pontvieux, gives us an overview of the Basque Nationalist and Separatist Organization in this book.

After he took part in a pro-separatist march that turned violent in January 1992, Lorenzo Lartaun Izcoa (21) is wrongfully charged with the fatal bombing of a police station in his home town, Irun. It is a small city located in the heart of Basque country between France and Spain. It struggles for independence. Lartaun is now on the Spanish Secret Service’s most wanted list labelled an active member of the Basque terrorist group ETA. He has no choice but to flee.

Delphine Pontvieux takes you on a breathtaking tour through Southern France and Spain. It is obvious that she knows the areas. The little details in clothes, culture, architecture, and especially rock climbing and rock formations show that she knows her trade.

She gives you insight in a family ripped apart by violence and forced to take a stand. The book explains how people became part of ETA, how people grew up powerless to stop the violence and one day, when the opportunity presented itself… 

The book makes no excuses for violence but explains the characters and the motivations from the people behind the campaigns. We see a human side in all of them. They care for family and friends and we see their strength when their loyalty is tested with torture.

We meet a variety of people who all stand for, protest, and strive for a better tomorrow. Each has their own way, their own method, definition, and through forces beyond themselves, they collide. Again, not condoning violence but describing the book. 

The book is well written, keeps a good pace, and has in-depth characters. The one moment where the author lost my attention was near the end. The book’s ending would have been stronger by simply displaying the note and then have Faustine call Haizea. Read it and let me know what you think. 

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