Winter in MadridSet in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Winter in Madrid, by C. J. Sansom is about three British citizens already scarred by their experiences of life and warfare when they come to Madrid.

Harry Brett accepts a Special Intelligence Service mission in Franco’s Spain, when the armies of fascism seemed invincible and the Communist revolution was utterly betrayed by the Stalin-Hitler Pact.

His old school collegue, the cynical and resentful Sandy Forsyth, is involved in a secretive business project which some believe could tip the balance toward an alliance between Spain and Nazi Germany. Barbara Clare is his lady but shattered by the loss of her lover some yeaers ago, when she realizes the love of her life might be alive and imprisoned in old war labor camp in Cuenca. It was surprising to read about the camp and surroundings after I visited the place in 2012, not knowing its history. My thoughts lead me thinking how Spain turned such a suffering place into tourist site.

The Spain of 1940 is itself a character, the Madrid of its time is a charracter as well. As I lived in Madrid  for some time, I enjoed the author’s describing of the city’s sites and trying to imagine them 77 years ago.

Primarily, this is a political novel in the very best sense of that term – a novel that thoughtfully considers what can happen to an ordinarily person, trapped by the system. Great lifes thet anyhow went to forgiveness as the life strolls.