Winter in Madrid is set just after the bloody Spanish Civil War, with World War II looming over Europe. Reluctantly, Harry Brett looks for an old schoolmate who's become a person of interest for British intelligence.More
"The playing fields of Rookwood did little to prepare reluctant spy Harry Brett for the moral no man's land of post-Civil War Spain that awaits him in this cinematic historical thriller from British author Sansom....But those halcyon days have made him one of the few people likely to win the confidence of fellow old boy Sandy Forsyth, now a shady Madrid businessman, Franco associate and object of intense curiosity to British intelligence. Despite his reservations, Brett - whose best friend from Rookwood, Bernie Piper, disappeared in Spain a few years earlier while battling Franco with the International Brigade - accepts the assignment as his duty, and almost as swiftly regrets it. For the Madrid he finds has become a mockery of the vibrant, hopeful place he and Bernie visited during the dawn of the Republic. As in his Matthew Shardlake mystery series set in Tudor London, Sansom deftly plots his politically charged tale for maximal suspense, all the way up to its stunning conclusion. A bestseller in the U.K., this moving opus leaves the reader mourning for the Spain that might have been - and the England that maybe never was. (Publishers Weekly)
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realistic characters in historical context
Grim is an understatement
I would not recommend this book to anyone who I considered a friend without giving them the contact information for the local suicide hotline. The story was extremely depressing and really didn't need to be.
The ending was unreasonably sad. The main character had a bittersweet life which continued to sour. Sansom could have let him have some happiness at least.
I don't think I have heard him perform before, but he was magnificent.
Yes. It inspired me to not read Dominion. If Sansom writes another Shardlake mystery, however, I will give it a shot. I have listened to all of those--that's the only reason I bothered with Winter in Madrid.
Sansom is a skilled writer whose ability to paint with words is marvelous. If I were to see any of his characters on the street I feel sure I would recognize them--they seem that clear and that real. His works are exceptionally well researched and very true to the period and events he tries to capture. The plots are excellent, including the one for this book. This book starts a little slow, but there was a lot of groundwork to lay. The pace picks up at the end of part one and he builds suspense steadily until the end. I just hated to see the story end with such despair and lack of hope, especially for Harry--I couldn't help but feel that he might have been better off to have died at Dunkirk.