This novel was originally written in Spanish but has now been translated into English. It is well-written and the translation is skilful. It is an intriguing and thought-provoking merger of fact and fiction. The story is set in a Spanish Costa. There are two central characters and each tells their story in the first person, each person taking alternative chapters to speak. Firstly we have Sandra, a young Spanish woman. She has discovered she is pregnant and has come to stay in her sister's holiday home until she decides what she intends to do. She is immature, indecisive, feckless and has never had to take any responsibilty in her life so far. Secondly there is Julian, an elderly Spanish gentleman, now living in Argentina who returned to Spain to visit a friend of his, who unfortunately had died by the time Julian reached Spain. Julian and his deceased friend were survivors of a Nazi concentration camp and after the war both had dedicated their lives to tracking down Nazi war criminals and ensuring they were brought to justice. Julian's friend had written to him tellimg him that he had discovered a pair of Nazis - a husband and wife - living close to him in Spain. Although he is now 80 years old, Julian is determined to expose them.
Sandra becomes involved with the Nazi couple after they help her when she is taken ill on the beach. Completely unaware of their past, she thinks of them as the grandparents she doesn't have. Julian feels obliged to warn Sandra of the couple's true identity. To Sandra, the war and the Holocaust are ancient history and she doesn't know what to believe. However, she watches the couple closely and realises that Julian is right. She and Julian join forces to bring the couple to justice. In addition it soon becomes clear that there is a whole community of Nazis living in the same village so their task appears insurmountable.
Both Julian and Sandra are sympathetic characters and I soon found myself worrying about their safety. Both are vulnerable in different ways. Julian is elderly and physically frail but mentally strong. Sandra is young and pregnant and has had a very easy, carefree existence until now. Both appear to be unlikely opponents in their fight against an entire Nazi brotherhood. It is very much a David and Goliath story, a story of good versus evil.
Most of the Nazis who appear in the novel are based on real people who after the war found refuge in Spain and who managed to live there indisturbed to a ripe old age. The fact that the novel is based on fact, gave it an edge which added to the story. I also feel that it is important that we should be reminded about the horrors of the Holocaust. Many younger readers may know very little about this period in our history and, like Sandra, think of it as ancient history, of little relevance to them.
I am happy to recommend this novel. I thought it was a great read.