The Painter of Battles lives in a lighthouse, painting a mural of scenes of famous battles intermixed with personal horror from his own experiences. He is alone, until he is visited by a man from his past who comes to make him think about his life and his role in the atrocities that he experienced as a "tourist of disasters." The man has come to discuss and explore the nature of art as it relates to reality, the inexhaustible cruelty of man, and how war makes up a part of the human condition. He has also come to kill him. Very different from his other books, which are more in the vein of literary adventures or mysteries. This book feels personal to me. Mr. Reverte worked as a war correspondent/journalist in numerous, most likely hellish, locations. The fact that some of the stories related in this book may be real or at least mirror real events made them more chilling. I agree with one commentator who stated that reading this novel will change your reactions to what you see in images from datelines around the world.