The atmosphere is all right, and we still get a lot of author's opinions about the old and new politics of Spain and the spirit of its people. But the plot is very weak and full of holes. For one thing, no one ever blackmails influential people openly, in front of a crowd, or at least they very quickly and effectively strike back.
I also cannot quite swallow the omniscient first-person narrator, without even the flimsy excuse that he was told afterwards about the happenings he didn't witness and
the feelings of the participants - because obviously Alatriste isn't the kind of person who talks at length about anything on earth, still less feelings, still less his own.