Winter in Madrid

Winter in Madrid

Pre-loaded Audiobook - 2008
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It is 1940. The Spanish Civil War is over, and Madrid lies ruined, its people starving, while the Germans continue their relentless march through Europe. And as Britain stands alone, General Franco considers whether to abandon neutrality and enter into the war. Into this uncertain world comes Harry Brett, ex-public schoolboy, traumatised veteran of Dunkirk, and, now, reluctant spy for the British Secret Service. Sent to gain the confidence of Sandy Forsyth, an old school friend turned shady Madrid businessman, he finds himself involved in a dangerous game--and surrounded by memories.
Published: [Solon, Ohio] : Playaway Digital Audio ; Prince Frederick, MD : [distributed exclusively by] Recorded Books, LLC : [manufactured by] Findaway World, LLC, [released 2008], c2008.
Edition: Unabridged.
ISBN: 9781436154505
1436154502
Branch Call Number: PLAYAWAY F SAN
Characteristics: 1 sound media player (22 hr.) :,digital ;,3 3/8 x 2 1/8 in.
Additional Contributors: Griffin, Gordon

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SuzeParker
Nov 29, 2013

In Winter in Madrid, Sansom captures the culture and struggles of post-civil war Spain, delivering well-defined characters who elicited strong emotion in me, both positive and negative.

As Madrid begins to emerge from the rubble of its own war, citizens hold their breath, waiting to see if Franco will next join Hitler’s war. Britain’s intelligence agency recruits Harry Brett, a fluent Spanish speaker and World War II veteran recovering from shell shock in the Battle at Dunkirk, to work at the Spanish embassy. Ostensibly, Brett will serve as an interpreter. His real mission, however, is to spy on an old British schoolmate, Sandy Forsyth, whom England suspects of shady business dealings.

Harry discovers that Sandy now lives with Barbara Clare, the former girlfriend of a third classmate, Bernie Piper, who became a communist and was thought to have died years earlier fighting Spain’s fascists. Barbara has learned that Bernie is alive and being held in a brutal military prison. Harry and the Spanish woman with whom he has fallen in love agree to aid in helping Bernie escape.

Winter in Madrid deftly intertwines the story lines – unassuming Harry winning Sandy’s confidence and becoming an effective spy, and the plot to break Bernie free – against a backdrop of dilapidated Madrid and dramatic political maneuverings. The book’s climax is surprising and devastating.

Apart from the story itself, I learned a little about Spain’s civil war and its tremulous post-civil war history, about which I knew virtually nothing.

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