Winter in Madrid

Winter in Madrid
Genre : Fiction
Published : 2 Jan 2006 - Macmillan
It is 1940. The Spanish Civil War is over, and Madrid lies ruined, its people starving, while the Germans continue their relentless march through Europe. And as Britain stands alone, General Franco considers whether to abandon neutrality and enter the war. Into this uncertain world comes Harry Brett, ex-public schoolboy, traumatised veteran of Dunkirk and, now, reluctant spy for the British Secret Service. Sent to gain the confidence of Sandy Forsyth, an old schoolfriend turned shady Madrid businessman, he 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, whose passion for the Communist cause led him into the International Brigades, and who vanished on the bloody battlefields of the Jarama.

In WINTER IN MADRID – as in DISSOLUTION and DARK FIRE – C.J. Sansom brilliantly conjures with delicate tipping points in history, using their complexities to throw his characters into morally fraught situations. The result is a gripping novel of spies, greed and betrayal.


I was engrossed by every one of this historical thriller's 500 pages. It is a superb adventure and vibrant picture of Spain during and after the civil war... this novel is very highly recommended.

Morning Star

Now here’s a wonderful curiosity: a convincing and moving historical novel, which is also an exciting thriller … Sansom has a good eye for details that brings the time alive.

Sunday Times

Complex political questions and divided loyalties pepper C.J.Sansom's third book ... His portrait of a chilly uncertain Forties Spain is impressive.

Mail on Sunday

The history is always good and vividly recounted the characters solid and believable.

Northern Echo

A compelling tale of game-playing, memories and the impact of impossible choices. If you like Sebastian Faulks and Carlos Ruiz Zafon, you'll love this.

Daily Express

...the novel, Sansom's third, is thoroughly researched, convincingly evocative and solidly entertaining.

Daily Telegraph

War-torn Spain, the deadly forces of political intrigue and the passions of these enmeshed human victims are powerfully evoked and the narration is masterful.

The Observer

The book is part romance and part crime thriller, and is distinguished, above all else, by its vivid evocation of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath.

Choice December 2006

Sansom’s action-packed thriller is a classic tale of old loyalties pitched against new ideologies.

Daily Mail

Sansom establishes that he is as much of a master of this era as of that of Henry VIII...As WINTER IN MADRID progresses, Sansom adroitly draws the disparate strands of his ambitious saga together. His non-pareil evocations of time and place anchor his characters with satisfying precision.

The Independent

C.J. Sansom has a good ear for dialogue and the characterisation is excellent throughout.

Sunday Telegraph

...a convincing and moving historical novel, which is also an exciting thriller ... Sansom has a good eye for detail that brings the time alive.

Sunday Times

The material and human reality of Madrid of 1940 is recreated in authentic and believable detail ... As a portrait of a traumatized city, wrapped in silence because speech was dangerous, WINTER IN MADRID is a remarkable achievement.


This is a compelling read, vividly capturing the atmosphere of constant fear, as religious fervor and political ambition are expressed in cruelty and corruption.

Sunday Telegraph

WINTER IN MADRID is a beguiling smorgasbord...indelibly stamped with Sansom’s own personality...Sansom has marked out this territory with just as much skill as in the Tudor and Cromwellian settings of the books that made his name.

Daily Express

Sansom weaves an extremely readable and credible story using historical fact and real people...a brilliant view of everyday life in the devastated exceptionally good read.

Chester & District Standard

As much as the period, the characters are skillfully bought to life.

Inverness Courier

His portrait of a chilly uncertain Forties Spain is impressive.

Mail on Sunday

I enjoyed it a lot, learnt about events in Spain at the time and once again admired his skill at handling historical material.

New Books Magazine

Sansom triumphs as he unravels the tissue of lies and deceptions that lead to the blood-bath.


This is a gripping weave of fiction and history.

Spain Magazine

A vividly-told novel...

Choice Magazine

...atmospheric and impeccably researched...

Sunday Times Culture

A "real page-turner

The Law Society Gazette

The climax is tremendously exciting and skilfully played out, and the characters... are so convincing that it's tempting to cast the actors who will play them in the inevitable big-screen adaptation.

Time Out

A haunting depiction of wartime Spain, from the highly acclaimed, award-winning author C.J. Sansom.

Publishing News

Sansom's splendid novel is not only similar in backdrop to FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS; it is also written in much the same plain and direct style (though Sansom's descriptive powers, particularly when introducing a change in setting or when portraying winter weather conditions, are quite remarkable). WINTER IN MADRID reveals the conflict for what it was - one of history's tragedies... It comes as no surprise to learn that Sansom's novel spent month after month on London's best-seller lists.

Philadelphia Enquirer

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