Top positive review
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A complex and rewarding thriller
on 20 December 2006
This is an excellent novel, with convincing characters and a feeling of authenticity about the conditions in Madrid following the Civil War. The story line itself is excellent and exciting, with many parallel threads developing to a conclusion full of suspense and drama. It is both spy novel, and also a love story, but also has great historical interest, showing the situation in Europe at the time, with the risk of Spain allying with the Germans against Britain, and the efforts of British diplomats to avoid this by subtle relationship building with key people in the Spanish government.
I am surprised that an earlier reviewer found the characters stereotyped for I found them totally convincing. Yes, they are people of their time, but their characters are picked out in fine detail and the reader can empathise with them with little difficulty.
The author has conducted meticulous research into the history of the Spanish Civil War and its effects on the various classes of people in Spain. The book shows the great divisions in Spain following the war, and the bitter wounds caused to family and social relationships by the polarisation of the nation into two different sides. I can set this book alongside the very best works of Sebastian Faulkes, John le Carré, Alain Furst etc. This is a very fine book, with a strong story line set in a convincing portrait of Madrid in 1941. Well worth reading.