Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Winter In Madrid

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Winter In Madrid

by C.J. Sansom

Winter In Madrid by C.J. Sansom
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2008, 544 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2009, 544 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa A. Goldstein

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Beyond the Book

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  • Spain has been through much political upheaval since General Franco's time. Following his death in 1975, parliamentary democracy was restored. Since then, Spain has tried a military-backed government, as well as ones led by the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), and the People's Party. The People's Party was in office from 1996 until 2004, when the PSOE won office in the aftermath of the March 11 terrorist bomb attacks in Madrid.

     
  • Since the 1920s, the British Secret Service has been properly referred to as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). During the 1930s, the title "M16" was adopted as a "flag of convenience" for SIS and was used extensively during World War II. MI6 was one of 17 military intelligence units including MI2 (intelligence in the Soviet Union and Scandinavia), MI3 (Germany and Eastern Europe), MI4 (aerial reconnaissance), MI9 (covert operations and PoW escape), MI18 (Prisoner of War debriefing) and so on.  Most of these units were disbanded after the war or merged into MI5, SIS or GCHQ.

    The name 'M16' fell out of official use years ago but many writers and journalists still use it to describe the SIS. For more on this topic see BookBrowse's review of A Spy by Nature by Charles Cumming.

     
  • Sansom is a former attorney with a Ph.D. in history who now writes full-time. He's British, and is best known for his historical fiction starring hunchback Tudor lawyer, Matthew Shardlake. Four books featuring Shardlake have been published (bio & bibliography at BookBrowse), the most recent, Revelation, was published in the UK in 2008 and released in the USA in February 2009.  It will be featured in the next issue of "BookBrowse Recommends".

     
  • Sansom has said that his favorite place in the world is Madrid, the locale of this novel.
     

This article was originally published in January 2008, and has been updated for the January 2009 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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