I recall this book being a recommendation to me as a result of my love for [b:The Shadow of the Wind|9529|The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1)|Carlos Ruiz Zafón|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347296353s/9529.jpg|3209783]. I subsequently picked this up and was drawn once again into the era during and around the Spanish Civil War, a period and place in history my knowledge of was previously non existant.
This is an excellent novel that has convincing characters and a genuine feeling of authenticity about the conditions in Madrid following the Civil War that evoke the scenes being written and the grimness into your mind. The story line itself has many parallel threads that develop to a conclusion full of suspense and drama.
While it is historical fiction it is also both spy novel and a love story. The historical basis shows the developing political machinations in Europe at the time, with the risk of Spain allying with the Germans against Britain, and the efforts of British diplomats to avoid this by subtle relationship building with key people in the Spanish government.
The effects of the Spanish Civil War on the various classes of people in Spain are documented well and the novel also explores the bitter wounds caused to family and social relationships by the polarisation of the nation into two different sides.