Into this uncertain world comes Harry Brett: a traumatised veteran of Dunkirk turned reluctant spy for the British Secret Service. Sent to gain the confidence of old school friend Sandy Forsyth, now a shady Madrid businessman, Harry finds himself involved in a dangerous game and surrounded by memories.
Meanwhile, Sandy's girlfriend, ex-Red Cross nurse Barbara Clare, is engaged on a secret mission of her own: to find her former lover Bernie Piper, a passionate Communist in the International Brigades, who vanished on the bloody battlefields of the Jarama.
In a vivid and haunting depiction of wartime Spain, Winter in Madrid is an intimate and compelling tale that offers a remarkable sense of history unfolding and the profound impact of impossible choices.
© C.J. Sansom; (P) Macmillan Publishers Ltd
"Sansom adroitly draws the disparate strands of his ambitious saga together. His non-pareil evocations of time and place anchor his characters with satisfying precision" (Independent)
"Few authors have the ability, or capacity for research, which allows them to capture the mood and atmosphere of a period in history, so when one does, and does it as well as CJ Sansom in Winter in Madrid, then they deserve not only praise but success." (Tony Galvin, Dublin Evening Herald)
I put off this book for a while, fearing a boring "costume drama". But this is anything but. It is the story of 3 men who went to public school in England together, and who meet in Spain during WWII in varying circumstances. The book jumps between various time periods (which can sometimes be confusing -- I wish the narrator had more clearly separated these sections) but which gives a fascinating insight into the characters. It is a spy story, a love story and a war story. Finally, the narration here is simply the best I have heard. By subtely altering his voice the narrator makes the characters come alive in the listener's mind without overdoing it. Pace is perfect, and the narration becomes "transparent" as you become afixed to the story.
"Interesting historical context - Spanish Civil War"
Great spy story in the Le Carre / Greene tradition but with a very interesting setting around the time of the Spanish Civil War, giving some insight into the suffering of the Spanish people after several years of war and with threats from many quarters with people determing their allegiances to the various factions fighting within the country and with ambiguity as to who's on whose side and where the threats are coming from. Interesting characters and good pace - I found this to be a compelling listen.
The book met my expectations. I particularly liked the narrator, who was able to mimick the different accents so well.
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