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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of the Shardlake series, C. J. Sansom, comes Winter in Madrid, a standalone historical novel set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War.

1940: The Spanish Civil War is over, and Madrid lies ruined, its people starving, while the Germans continue their relentless march through Europe. Britain now stands alone while General Franco considers whether to abandon neutrality and enter the war.

Into this uncertain world comes Harry Brett: a traumatised veteran of Dunkirk turned reluctant spy for the British Secret Service. Sent to gain the confidence of old school friend Sandy Forsyth, now a shady Madrid businessman, Harry finds himself involved in a dangerous game – and surrounded by memories. Meanwhile Sandy's girlfriend, ex-Red Cross nurse Barbara Clare, is engaged on a secret mission of her own – to find her former lover Bernie Piper, a passionate Communist in the International Brigades, who vanished on the bloody battlefields of the Jarama.

In a vivid and haunting depiction of wartime Spain, Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom is an intimate and compelling tale which offers a remarkable sense of history unfolding and the profound impact of impossible choices.

©2019 C. J. Sansom (P)2019 Macmillan Digital Audio

What listeners say about Winter in Madrid

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Excellent

One of the best WW2 historical novels I have listened to. The narrator is brilliant. Very true to historical events as evidenced by the facts. Sad and moving yet always gripping the listener. C J Sansom is a truly remarkable writer. I await for further works by this superb novelist.

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  • The Forever Student
  • 01-01-2020

Great adventure

Believable characters, a compelling story and insightful history, this one is really quite good. The reader is also very good. I read a review criticizing the characters as two-dimensional. I didn’t find this to be the case. For the genre, they are really well developed and I find their motives totally believable. Enjoy!

5 people found this helpful

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  • barry
  • 26-03-2021

World War2/Post Sp Civil War Grim Tapestry

Both the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath and World War 2 have served our contemporary imaginations in novel form. Actually I would give CJ Sansom's story a 3.5 star rating instead of a four mostly on the account of some of how its virtues played out. It does a vivid job of portraying the bleak situation for Spain in the first year of World War 2, the upshot of the various extremist cruelties of the civil war and what came after. But in doing so the central action of the story itself, fraught with the weight of moving toward its resolution at a glacial pace, feels lethargic. And at the same time while moving through its paces so ponderously and refusing to bring the plot to a satisfyingly melodramatic and romantic resolution, honestly enough, also does not really bring home the kind of tragedy, albeit tragic events occur, that might provide catharsis. And the epilogue, then, does a wash to the whole in a way suggesting the author really did not know the way out of the problem he had created for himself with his characters. Nonetheless, it is well detailed, and worth a listen, the main characters sympathetic, albeit sympathetic enough to have also been given better closure. History 4; characterizaions 3.5, story 3.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-09-2020

winter in Madrid

loved the characters & story line. Ending seemed rushed & sudden which left me feeling disappointed but excellent read.

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  • Seayeaitch
  • 09-07-2019

If you want to understand the recent political situation in Spain look no further.

An intense and most interesting portrayal of the Spanish politics in the 1930’s. CJS ability to weave a storyline is enhanced and brought to life by Daniel Weyman and holds the attention of the listener right to the end. CJS provides an excellent lesson in unraveling a period of history that provides the listener with a ring side seat to a greater understanding.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Trixie
  • 09-06-2019

Spanish Civil War in the 1930s

I’ve read everything written by C.J. Sansom and especially enjoy the Shardlake series. His historical research into the period of the stories is extremely thorough and adds so much to each book. I had read this book a while ago and noticed that Audible had recently released an unabridged version, having only offered an abridged one read by Simon Russell Beale so far.

Daniel Weyman is one of my favourite narrators and does his usual excellent job with Spanish accents as well as British ones. Oddly enough none of the characters is especially endearing, even the main one, who’s a bit of a wet blanket despite being a spy for British Intelligence in the Madrid embassy. Perhaps being boring is the best cover a spy should cultivate.

This doesn’t mar the overall experience of this very long story, which has an absorbing historical background of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. As is usual in civil wars, both sides do unspeakable things and the main victims are the impoverished. The fact that General Franco held power for 40 years after the conflict is a depressing thought.

I recommend Dominion by Sansom if you haven’t read it. The Audible version is very good and once again the historical setting (1940s England living under German rule via a collaborationist government) makes it an absorbing read.

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  • Chris
  • 09-05-2020

Recommend this unabridged version

For me, the 20 hours flew by and easily managed to hold my attention. I don’t follow the idea of abridging this kind of novel (well-paced thriller), except perhaps for readers who are very short on time.

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  • Lucy C.
  • 24-10-2019

An epic tale

It helps to have a knowledge of Spain in that era, but not essential, as the story is so detailed as to transport you there. The characters are thoroughly believable and it's easy to buy into a story where the narration matches the writing. Effortlessly elegant, but also an exciting page-turner of which this a classic example. A jewel.

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  • Gillyane
  • 20-07-2019

TRAGEDY OF THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR AND ITS AFTERMATH

THIS BOOK EXPLAINS THE UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF THE GHASTLY CIVIL WAR. THE PART ENGLAND PLAYED IN MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR THE RUSSIANS TO BECOME EMBROILED IS BOTH SAD AND REPREHENSIBLE. HOWEVER, AFTER THE BRUTALITY SHOWN BY BOTH SIDES WOULD IT REALLY HAVE BEEN ANY BETTER HAD THE REPUBLICANS STAYED IN POWER? ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER HAD TO TOTALLY DEFEAT THE OTHER FOR THERE TO BE ANY CHANCE OF PEACE, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD HAVE STAYED CONSTANTLY AT WAR. FRANCO COMING OUT ON TOP EVENTUALLY MEANT THAT SPAIN BECAME A DEMOCRATIC NATION AGAIN. HAD THE COMMUNISTS WON IT IS MOST UNLIKELY THAT THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO HAPPEN.

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  • Mongfhind
  • 16-03-2021

First class novel by a first class writer

As ever CJ Sansom produces a work that I could not stop listening to. It brought a time in history that I know relatively little about to life in all its terror, injustice and misery for a nation under a ruthless dictatorship which lasted from the 1939 until 1975. The book was expertly narrated by Daniel Weyman. Daniel managed to make me feel part of the drama and their struggle just to survive that many of the characters endured which was pitted against the vanity and cruelty of their oppressors. He brought the characters to life making them into three dimensional beings. That for me is the mark of a professional. I look forward to hearing more from Daniel Weyman.

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  • martin
  • 18-12-2020

A Gripping Journey though Post Civil War Spain

C J Sansom is one of the best in his trade at weaving his stories deftly though major events in history. I like to show my appreciation for the amount of time the author has obviously spent in research, because it's really shows in this novel.

Seton between the first and second World Wars, the novel really shines a light on the struggles Spain had in the time period. Before reading this, I must confess I knew next to nothing of this time period, but after completing this novel I have began to do we research of my own, such was my interest peaked.

The Characters are very relatable and complex, Especially Harry Brett, our reluctant hero.

The book read like a spy thriller, at the same time having relationship interests but never managed to feel over complicated or overwhelming.

I'd recommend this book wholeheartedly for anyone interested in War time Britain, and history surrounding that era.

In Conclusion, a gripping and interesting listen!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-12-2020

Great tale, hate the ending

(Spoilers ahead) Come on CJ - why the bleak ending? I have rewritten this in my head to give both couples a happy ending - they deserved it.

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  • P J.
  • 15-11-2020

Very Good

I've listened to a lot of C J Sansom books and the Shardlake series are a firm favourite of mine and I recently tried Dominion which was enjoyable which lead me to Winter in Madrid.
It's a long book at over 20hrs but certainly worth the time Daniel Weyman the narrator was very good with plenty of variation for the different characters and paced it well.
I have an interest in the Spanish Civil War and have read Homage to Catalonia among others so had a fair idea of the period setting and it was mostly handled very well. There were a few little things I found slightly off such as the scene with the German tank when the barrel is described as very long but the German tanks in Spain were lightly armoured and most were armed with machine guns with no long barrelled guns. Similarly the description of the Guardia Civil carrying 'heavy machine guns' which were also described as 'sub machine guns' in the same paragraph, the latter would be the more accurate term as a heavy machine gun is normally crewed by at least 2 men and most certainly isn't something a member of the Guardia Civil would be carrying around or shooting from the hip. Minor issues which only briefly took me out of the story and many listeners would pass by without notice.
I wasn't wholly convinced by parts of the ending but it doesn't take away from it being a very good book overall and one I may go back to and listen again in the future and I will certainly look for more books narrated by Daniel Weyman.

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  • Katy
  • 03-11-2020

Democratically Elected Socialist Governments

Even if they're not prevented from winning, the powers that be will defeat them once they have. Thanks to all the Bernies who have lived and died to prove this.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.