• Winter in Madrid

  • By: C. J. Sansom
  • Narrated by: Simon Russell Beale
  • Length: 6 hrs and 21 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 11-04-07
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.1 (120 ratings)


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 is an intimate and compelling tale that offers a remarkable sense of history unfolding and the profound impact of impossible choices.
© C.J. Sansom; (P) Macmillan Publishers Ltd
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Critic reviews

"This multilayered novel is up there with Greene and Le Carré. 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."( Observer Review)
"Brilliantly read by Simon Russell Beale and his delivery completely enhances Sansom's superb creation of atmosphere and characterisation. A stunner." ( Daily Express)
"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." ( Independent)
"Few authors have the ability, or capacity for research, which allows them to capture the mood and atmosphere of a period in history, so when one does, and does it as well as CJ Sansom in Winter in Madrid, then they deserve not only praise but success." (Tony Galvin, Dublin Evening Herald)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By chris on 31-05-07

Interesting historical context - Spanish Civil War

Great spy story in the Le Carre / Greene tradition but with a very interesting setting around the time of the Spanish Civil War, giving some insight into the suffering of the Spanish people after several years of war and with threats from many quarters with people determing their allegiances to the various factions fighting within the country and with ambiguity as to who's on whose side and where the threats are coming from. Interesting characters and good pace - I found this to be a compelling listen.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Thomas on 24-10-16

The narration is so sombre I've had to give up. I'm sorry to say that the downcast narration ruins the story.

The narration is so sombre I've had to give up. I'm sorry to say that the downcast narration ruins the story. There is no range of emotion, just boredom. As if the main characters are idling away a non eventful afternoon.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Erling on 20-09-08

A riveting story excellently narrated

I put off this book for a while, fearing a boring "costume drama". But this is anything but. It is the story of 3 men who went to public school in England together, and who meet in Spain during WWII in varying circumstances. The book jumps between various time periods (which can sometimes be confusing -- I wish the narrator had more clearly separated these sections) but which gives a fascinating insight into the characters. It is a spy story, a love story and a war story. Finally, the narration here is simply the best I have heard. By subtely altering his voice the narrator makes the characters come alive in the listener's mind without overdoing it. Pace is perfect, and the narration becomes "transparent" as you become afixed to the story.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Timothy on 04-08-15

Good story - perhaps too abridged

A well written and narrated novel set around the Spanish Civil war. It explains a little of the history and atmosphere at the time in the natural flow of the story.

Nicely narrated and an easy listen it is perhaps too harshly abridged when compared with Dominion by the same author on Audible that was much better as unabridged.

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