A betrayal and a murder in pro-Nazi Spain spark a struggle for power that grips a family for generations in this sweeping historical thriller.
Fierce, edgy, brisk, and enthralling, this brilliant novel by Victor del Árbol pushes the boundaries of the traditional historical novel and in doing so creates a work of incredible power that resonates long after the last page has been turned.
When Isabel, a Spanish aristocrat living in the pro-Nazi Spain of 1941, becomes involved in a plot to kill her Fascist husband, she finds herself betrayed by her mysterious lover. The effects of her betrayal play out in a violent struggle for power in both family and government over three generations, intertwining her story with that of a young lawyer named Maria forty years later. During the attempted Fascist coup of 1981, Maria is accused of plotting the prison escape of a man she successfully prosecuted for murder. As Maria's and Isabel's narratives unfold they encircle each other, creating a page-turning literary thriller firmly rooted in history.
I have to applaud any author who can weave so many threads into such a smart, fascinating yarn... If you like your thrillers simple, straightforward, good-guys/bad-guys, this is not a novel for you. But if, like me, you like to savor a sophisticated chiller then by all means dig into this one. (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).
Tension oozes from every page… a gripping thriller that rivals the suspense of Alan Furst's Night Soldiers and C. J. Samson's Winter in Madrid.
An intriguing story of espionage, sex, and betrayal… this historical thriller does not disappoint. Readers who enjoy detective fiction, historical fiction, and psychological thrillers will find plenty to engross them.
Starred Review. A deftly plotted thriller that combines narrative momentum with literary ambition... masterful… A literary page-turner.
María Dueñas, author of The Time in Between
Haunting and disturbing, this magnificent novel reminds us that the door is never completely shut upon evil or the past.
Victor del Árbol's The Sadness of the Samurai begins in pro-Nazi Spain and takes place over three generations - the perfect political backdrop for the violence, betrayal, mystery and murder that takes place in the novel. Every nation struggles with its own demons, and 20th century Spain was no exception - experiencing civil war, dictatorial leaders, worker unrest, nascent democracy, and in 1981, a coup d'état that threatened to topple the newly formed democratic government.
After ruling Spain for nearly four decades, dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975. His appointed heir, Prince Juan Carlos de Borbón took over as King and lost little time restructuring Spain's government into a constitutional monarchy with a democratically elected congress, called the Cortes. He promised a future of freely contested elections, but it quickly proved to be a promise he would not be able to fulfill, especially if elements of the country's right wing had anything to say about it.
Accompanying any drastic political rearrangement there will be inevitable...
A Washington conspiracy thriller in which 'the bad guys are sufficiently evil, the plot properly labyrinthine, the solution to the mystery completely satisfying. This is high-level entertainment from a writer who could soon rise to the top of the thriller heap'.
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