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The Sentinel (Vengeance of Memory Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Mark Oldfield
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

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Book Description

You can't escape the past.

He was the cold steel behind Franco's regime. The fear behind Franco's power.

57 years ago, Comandante Leopoldo Guzmán disappeared without a trace. They know what he did, but they don't know where he's gone.

Madrid, winter 1953: the snow lies thick on the ground and Comandante Guzmán of the Brigada Especial is preparing a dawn raid. His job is to hunt down opponents of Franco's regime and destroy them. Feared by all in Franco's Spain, Guzmán takes what he wants: food, drink, women.

That is about to change. Guzmán is going to find himself on the wrong side of Franco, and on the wrong side of history. It's not the first time Guzmán has been on the wrong side. But there's no one left alive who knows about that... until he gets a message from a dead man...

Madrid, 2009: Ana María Galindez is a forensic scientist investigating a mass grave from the Franco era. Now she is hunting for the hidden ledger of secret policeman Leopoldo Guzmán - a man who disappeared without trace in 1953. But there are those who would rather the secrets of Guzmán's ledger stay buried. Galindez' pursuit of the past has revealed a battle for the present...

Product Description


'Superbly told, and with a fine villain at its heart, this is a remarkable first thriller that bodes exceptionally well for Oldfield's future' The Daily Mail.

'An extremely compelling read ... Oldfield builds and maintains tensions like a pro, and is one to watch' It's a Crime.

'Polished and impressive ... [for] fans of Kate Mosse' Guardian.

'A remarkably accomplished and interesting debut' Literary Review.

About the Author

Mark Oldfield was born in Sheffield, but now lives in Kent. He holds a PhD in criminology.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1066 KB
  • Print Length: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (1 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009IU5396
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,673 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Twitter: @centinelaUK

'The Sentinel' is also available in Italian as 'Quindici Cadaveri' and in Spanish as 'Muerte en Madrid.'

Shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for best thriller of 2013

The Judges said: "A very dark and chilling account of Spain under Franco, this novel is intensely atmospheric and a truly substantial work."

"A remarkably accomplished and interesting debut.." -Literary Review.

"Superbly told... a remarkable first thriller that bodes exceptionally well for Oldfield's future' The Daily Mail.

Hello, thanks for stopping by to check out my book 'The Sentinel,' a dark noir thriller set in Madrid. I'm Mark Oldfield and I'm a writer and freelance criminologist with a long standing passion for Spain and all things Spanish(and Basque).

I first visited Spain in 1976. I loved it so much,I became a regular visitor. The years following Franco's death in 1975 saw a transition from Dictatorship to Democracy in Spain and I witnessed at first hand the brutality of the police and security forces against protesters in the Basque country.

A few years later, when I went to work in Spain, I became fascinated by the lingering echoes of the Civil War that still resonated as the country moved toward democracy. As a result, I began to study the Civil War and the years of dictatorship that followed. 'The Sentinel' reflects some aspects of the dark history of the years of Franco's dictatorship.

If you don't like scenes of violence then this book probably isn't for you.

***************** About 'The Sentinel' *********************************

The 'Sentinel' is the first volume in the 'Vengeance of Memory' trilogy and is a dark tale of corruption, deceipt and lies.

Sentinel isn't a history book but many of the things in it are based on real events. The main character, Comandante Leo Guzman is loosely based on a Spanish major who Franco used to spread terror through his murderous actions. The Spanish Civil War and the years of Franco's long dictatorship were marked by remarkable cruelty and violence and I have tried to portray that whilst still providing an interesting plot.

In 2009, on a blazing summer's day in hills near Madrid, Ana María Galindez, a Guardia Civil forensic scientist examines what she thinks is just another Civil War grave. What she finds there will change her life forever. Fifteen bodies are hidden in an abandoned mine shaft. The killings took place sometime in the early 1950s and the identity of the suspected murderer is revealed to Galindez by Profesora Luisa Ordoñez, the pretentious and wordy academic whose team discovered the bodies. The killer's name: Comandante Leo Guzmán.

Ana Maria is an amnesiac who lost all memory of her childhood when, at the age of 8, she witnessed the car bombing that killed her Civil Guard father. Her father was a hero in the Guardia, so much so that her life in the force is dogged by the fact that she is always 'Miguel's daughter, never just the woman from forensics.'

Galindez is determined to honour her father's memory by carving out a career for herself in the Guardia but it isn't easy. Until now, she has been given the routine work examining and cataloguing war graves. That's about to change.

Intrigued by the lack of knowledge of why Guzmán disappeared in 1953, Ana Maria becomes obsessed with tracking down this shadowy killer. As she investigates, she disturbs things which have lain dormant for almost sixty years. Things so toxic and compromising that those concerned will stop at nothing to destroy them - and her.

Ana María Galindez starts the story as a woman who does things by the book. As she doggedly pursues Guzmán, she finds she must abandon the rule book and fight for her life.

When she begins her investigation, Ana María doesn't know how deadly Guzmán could be.

She's about to find out.

And, if you read the book, so are you.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Thriller 10 Oct. 2012
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
A new publisher and one that doesn't believe in pulling punches with its first batch of releases and boy, am I glad for that. Here in this title by the author is a story that brings Spain to life for the reader, he brings the dark seedy underside into the light and when blended with the historical backdrop which the author adds in vivid technicolour really brings this story to the fore.

Add to this a cracking sense of pace, wonderful characterisation which when backed with a story that will keep you gripped from start to finish really makes this a very impressive title for me. I really hope that someone picks up the film rights to this as with all the twists and turns within backed up with the rich storytelling really makes this something that movie lovers will get a blast from.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A New Take On Crime Fiction 21 Feb. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Ana Maria Galindez is a 21st century forensic investigator dealing with the fall out from the Spanish Civil War and in particular the actions in the 1950s of Comandante Guzman. This is a little explored time and interweaving three different eras into one story, an engrossing story at that and full of historical information. Some of the dialogue, especially during the earlier periods, might seem a little modern, as this is not a translation from a Spanish writer it is hard to confirm whether or not people of that time in Spain would use certain phrases and this might distract and jar from the story. Apart from that, although weighing in at a daunting 600 or so pages with a certain amount of violence, crime fiction fans will possibly enjoy a new direction and a new heroine in Galindez.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By russell clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mark Oldfield says that the idea for "The Sentinel" came from talking to two elderly Spanish ladies about the Civil War, one from each side, living in the same city.
Mark Oldfield is a criminology researcher who has a real passion for Spain and his aim with this book , apart from producing a cracking historical thriller ,is to the compare two different Spain's-the Spain of 1953 and the modern Spain.
In the Spain of 2009 15 bodies have been found in an abandoned mine. The 15 bodies, we learn, had been buried in the early 1950s at a time when Franco is ruling Spain with an iron fist. One of his enforcers is a brute of a man - Comandante Guzmán. As Head of Franco's secret police - the Brigada Especial - Guzmán takes his orders directly from Franco himself, ensuring that those perceived as "enemies of the state" soon disappear.
The bulk of the plot is taken up with the appalling yet magnetic Guzmán but two other timelines run in this book with some chapters explaining how he came to be the Spanish Civil War "hero of Badajoz" and the third set in 2009 intruding us to Ana Mariá Galindez, a forensic scientist with the guardia civil who is asked to examine the 15 bodies, but her investigations lead her to want to know more about Guzmán.But it appears some others are more interested in preventing her achieving her aims.
While some may found the differing timelines jarring , I did not find the idea a problem, it was more the execution if you will forgive the Guzmán based pun.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some brilliance, some tedium 31 Dec. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a mixture of a book - terrific in parts but with some serious flaws which get in the way of it being the excellent novel it could have been.

Three stories are told simultaneously. The central tale set in Madrid in 1953 is bleak, gripping and brilliant. The compelling central character is Guzman, an utterly unprincipled, self-serving torturer and murderer who directs a unit of secret police for Franco's repressive fascist dictatorship. The story is exceptionally well told, the atmosphere superbly conjured and the characters all horribly believable. There are also brief flashbacks to events in the Spanish Civil War during 1936, also well done and whose significance becomes clear late in the book.

Unfortunately, interspersed with these very good stories is a present-day tale of a forensic investigator and her two historian colleagues who are investigating Guzman's history and trying to piece together who he was and what happened in 1953. Sadly, I found this story trite, unconvincing and rather uninteresting. Mark Oldfield is trying to show parallels between Franco's truth-suppressing totalitarian regime and postmodernist historians who regard history as narrative with no objective truth, but an exercise in personal interpretation where the truth is just what you can persuade people to believe. Now, I regard this approach (and postmodernism in general) as a toxic intellectual pollutant, so I am absolutely in sympathy with Oldfield here - but, oh dear, it does go on. Plastic characters, endless indignation about oppressive attitudes, a silly matter how much I agreed with what was being said it was tedious and absurd, and it badly marred what could have been a really fine book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars gift
sorry it was a gift i hope they enjoyed it
Published 9 days ago by Mrs G Obrien
5.0 out of 5 stars I cannot wait for the next installment in this series
This is an astonishing book! I didn't really know too much about Franco's Spain and this book is utterly fascinating. The story is very dark and brutal at times. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. JC Frank
3.0 out of 5 stars So close to being a really good read.
It's an interesting story and at times the brutality is perversely gripping but a few things spoil it.
1: the constant use of Spanish words and phrases. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Munch21
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but patchy
I enjoy reading about this period which is why I bought the bok. The female characters were poorly written and cliched and that was the part of the bok I liked the leaast. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Cazz
1.0 out of 5 stars Really disappointing novel
In view of good recommendations I tried this author, new to me, but it was a really hard slog to finish it owing to the extreme brutality of nearly every page. Read more
Published 10 months ago by ck
4.0 out of 5 stars LINDAB
An excellent read. An insight into the secret police of Franco and the complex characters each pursuing their own aims. A thrilling tale of violence and corruption.
Published 11 months ago by LindaB
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of promise, but little else
The Sentinel takes the reader on a journey to understand how Spain was following the Spanish Civil War compared to present day. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Darren Simons
4.0 out of 5 stars Franco`s legacy
An excellent crime thriller for anyone who likes an authentic historical background. In this case it's the Spanish Civil War and the years of terror that followed Franco's victory. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mr Robert A Pearson
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
Spain - again. But the book is a real page turner. Guzman is a ruthless killer but the author writes so well that he makes the character come to life. Read more
Published 13 months ago by jaffa
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Yarn
This novel moves between the era of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, 1953 and the near present. If one needs anything to convince you about the horrors of that era and it's... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Brett H
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