Sarah's Reviews > Winter in Madrid

Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom
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's review
Feb 07, 2009

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Read in February, 2009

I love spy novels! They are great, light fun which offer a little excitement without any risk. I'm sure they are much more fun than actually being a spy! The premise of this book is: what happens to regular guy who is asked to spy for his country? It turns on the question of where does one's loyalty fall; with friends, family or country? And how does one reconcile realpolitick with one's value system? None of that is revolutionary but they are still good questions to ask.

Sansom's book is about Spain in the ealry years of WW II. She is recovering from her nasty civil war but everyone still wants her to find the energy and the strenghth to chip in to the war effort. However, in Sansom's book, the people in power are all villains in one way or another. The only hero is one guy who has to follow his personal ethics and figure out where his priorities are. It's a little formulaic but still fun.

Sansom does a good job of building up the atmosphere of Spain after the civil war and it's a nice change from the usual fare of Nazis. Of course, there were Nazis in Spain but htere are no Nazi characters in this book and that's a nice change. Sansom also makes some efforts to show the reader that none of the powers involved in the civil war were without faults and that realpolitick was more important to countries than regular people. As Renault says in Casablanca: "The problems of two little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." Maybe that's the theme of this book!

This book was a fun, suspenseful read although the main character was a little too perfect and the ending was little contrived. I enjoyed the characters and that was what kept me reading the book. This was a character driven story more than an action packed thriller.

Yes, this is another WW II book but it's set in Spain which gives it a refreshing twist and it is not about right ideologies versus wrong ideologies but about people seeing things differently than countries do. Formulaic but fun.

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message 1: by Lester (new)

Lester Nice review. Sounds like this is right down my alley - good spy read. I'll check to see if I can get a Kindle edition.

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