Thrilling. Chilling. Bleak.

Winter in Madrid by CJ Sampson

You couldn’t make it up. I read Winter in Madrid in winter. In Madrid.

And I couldn’t put it down. As I hopped from cosy café to bustling bar, the book came with me.The novel takes us on a chilling tour of Madrid  just after the Civil War. A Madrid that shows no mercy. A Madrid where spies lurk in the shadows, and where nothing and no-one is quite as they seem.

The novel follows the interwoven fates of intellectual yet rather hapless Brit, Henry Brett, who finds himself on the trail of two former schoolfriends. One, Sandy Forsyth, is a chancer and wheeler-dealer, heavily involved with the Falange government. The other, Bernie Piper, fought for the communists, and disappeared without trace.  Henry also finds himself involved with three women who intervene with his fate in unexpected ways.

But the real centrepiece of the novel is Madrid itself: bombed out, burned  and battered in the aftermath of the Civil War. The human cost of the war is made all too clear as the novel develops, with tales of harrowing cruelty only slightly adapted from real life incidents.

If you’ve been to Madrid, or you’re reading this in Madrid, you’ll realise just how far the city has come since the dark days of Franco. This is a chilling introduction to the history of Madrid during a very dark period of Spanish history.



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