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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of the Shardlake series, C. J. Sansom, comes Winter in Madrid, a standalone historical novel set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War.

1940: The Spanish Civil War is over, and Madrid lies ruined, its people starving, while the Germans continue their relentless march through Europe. Britain now stands alone while General Franco considers whether to abandon neutrality and enter the war.

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 by C.J. Sansom is an intimate and compelling tale which offers a remarkable sense of history unfolding and the profound impact of impossible choices.

©2019 C. J. Sansom (P)2019 Macmillan Digital Audio

What listeners say about Winter in Madrid

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Great adventure

Believable characters, a compelling story and insightful history, this one is really quite good. The reader is also very good. I read a review criticizing the characters as two-dimensional. I didn’t find this to be the case. For the genre, they are really well developed and I find their motives totally believable. Enjoy!

6 people found this helpful

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World War2/Post Sp Civil War Grim Tapestry

Both the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath and World War 2 have served our contemporary imaginations in novel form. Actually I would give CJ Sansom's story a 3.5 star rating instead of a four mostly on the account of some of how its virtues played out. It does a vivid job of portraying the bleak situation for Spain in the first year of World War 2, the upshot of the various extremist cruelties of the civil war and what came after. But in doing so the central action of the story itself, fraught with the weight of moving toward its resolution at a glacial pace, feels lethargic. And at the same time while moving through its paces so ponderously and refusing to bring the plot to a satisfyingly melodramatic and romantic resolution, honestly enough, also does not really bring home the kind of tragedy, albeit tragic events occur, that might provide catharsis. And the epilogue, then, does a wash to the whole in a way suggesting the author really did not know the way out of the problem he had created for himself with his characters. Nonetheless, it is well detailed, and worth a listen, the main characters sympathetic, albeit sympathetic enough to have also been given better closure. History 4; characterizaions 3.5, story 3.

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winter in Madrid

loved the characters & story line. Ending seemed rushed & sudden which left me feeling disappointed but excellent read.

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  • Seayeaitch
  • 07-09-19

If you want to understand the recent political situation in Spain look no further.

An intense and most interesting portrayal of the Spanish politics in the 1930’s. CJS ability to weave a storyline is enhanced and brought to life by Daniel Weyman and holds the attention of the listener right to the end. CJS provides an excellent lesson in unraveling a period of history that provides the listener with a ring side seat to a greater understanding.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Trixie
  • 06-09-19

Spanish Civil War in the 1930s

I’ve read everything written by C.J. Sansom and especially enjoy the Shardlake series. His historical research into the period of the stories is extremely thorough and adds so much to each book. I had read this book a while ago and noticed that Audible had recently released an unabridged version, having only offered an abridged one read by Simon Russell Beale so far.

Daniel Weyman is one of my favourite narrators and does his usual excellent job with Spanish accents as well as British ones. Oddly enough none of the characters is especially endearing, even the main one, who’s a bit of a wet blanket despite being a spy for British Intelligence in the Madrid embassy. Perhaps being boring is the best cover a spy should cultivate.

This doesn’t mar the overall experience of this very long story, which has an absorbing historical background of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. As is usual in civil wars, both sides do unspeakable things and the main victims are the impoverished. The fact that General Franco held power for 40 years after the conflict is a depressing thought.

I recommend Dominion by Sansom if you haven’t read it. The Audible version is very good and once again the historical setting (1940s England living under German rule via a collaborationist government) makes it an absorbing read.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 05-09-20

Recommend this unabridged version

For me, the 20 hours flew by and easily managed to hold my attention. I don’t follow the idea of abridging this kind of novel (well-paced thriller), except perhaps for readers who are very short on time.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lucy C.
  • 10-24-19

An epic tale

It helps to have a knowledge of Spain in that era, but not essential, as the story is so detailed as to transport you there. The characters are thoroughly believable and it's easy to buy into a story where the narration matches the writing. Effortlessly elegant, but also an exciting page-turner of which this a classic example. A jewel.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Gillyane
  • 07-20-19

TRAGEDY OF THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR AND ITS AFTERMATH

THIS BOOK EXPLAINS THE UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF THE GHASTLY CIVIL WAR. THE PART ENGLAND PLAYED IN MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR THE RUSSIANS TO BECOME EMBROILED IS BOTH SAD AND REPREHENSIBLE. HOWEVER, AFTER THE BRUTALITY SHOWN BY BOTH SIDES WOULD IT REALLY HAVE BEEN ANY BETTER HAD THE REPUBLICANS STAYED IN POWER? ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER HAD TO TOTALLY DEFEAT THE OTHER FOR THERE TO BE ANY CHANCE OF PEACE, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD HAVE STAYED CONSTANTLY AT WAR. FRANCO COMING OUT ON TOP EVENTUALLY MEANT THAT SPAIN BECAME A DEMOCRATIC NATION AGAIN. HAD THE COMMUNISTS WON IT IS MOST UNLIKELY THAT THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO HAPPEN.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Eddie McGuigan
  • 08-31-21

This is not good

I took a bit of time to invest in the shardlake books and to be honest it paid off, they keep you for the most part tied in and while a little repetitive the historical links make it a worthwhile listen, I can’t connect with this though 5 hours in and I’m ready to ask for a refund I can’t decide yet if it’s the reader of the story or the writer but to be honest it feels like both poor story poorly told.

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  • Phil Dudman
  • 08-22-21

Gripping and pacey

I enjoyed the peace of this. While the plot thickened there was always plenty ticking over and the author's skill set contextualising his stories within real history is very clever and insightful.

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  • Mongfhind
  • 03-16-21

First class novel by a first class writer

As ever CJ Sansom produces a work that I could not stop listening to. It brought a time in history that I know relatively little about to life in all its terror, injustice and misery for a nation under a ruthless dictatorship which lasted from the 1939 until 1975. The book was expertly narrated by Daniel Weyman. Daniel managed to make me feel part of the drama and their struggle just to survive that many of the characters endured which was pitted against the vanity and cruelty of their oppressors. He brought the characters to life making them into three dimensional beings. That for me is the mark of a professional. I look forward to hearing more from Daniel Weyman.

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  • martin
  • 12-18-20

A Gripping Journey though Post Civil War Spain

C J Sansom is one of the best in his trade at weaving his stories deftly though major events in history. I like to show my appreciation for the amount of time the author has obviously spent in research, because it's really shows in this novel.

Seton between the first and second World Wars, the novel really shines a light on the struggles Spain had in the time period. Before reading this, I must confess I knew next to nothing of this time period, but after completing this novel I have began to do we research of my own, such was my interest peaked.

The Characters are very relatable and complex, Especially Harry Brett, our reluctant hero.

The book read like a spy thriller, at the same time having relationship interests but never managed to feel over complicated or overwhelming.

I'd recommend this book wholeheartedly for anyone interested in War time Britain, and history surrounding that era.

In Conclusion, a gripping and interesting listen!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-12-20

Great tale, hate the ending

(Spoilers ahead) Come on CJ - why the bleak ending? I have rewritten this in my head to give both couples a happy ending - they deserved it.

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  • Richard
  • 08-14-19

Excellent

One of the best WW2 historical novels I have listened to. The narrator is brilliant. Very true to historical events as evidenced by the facts. Sad and moving yet always gripping the listener. C J Sansom is a truly remarkable writer. I await for further works by this superb novelist.

1 person found this helpful