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The Sentinel (Vengeance of Memory) [Formato Kindle]

Mark Oldfield

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Descrizione prodotto

Recensione

'Superbly told, and with a fine villain at its heart, this is a remarkable first thriller that bodes exceptionally well for Oldfield's future' The Daily Mail.

'An extremely compelling read ... Oldfield builds and maintains tensions like a pro, and is one to watch' It's a Crime.

'Polished and impressive ... [for] fans of Kate Mosse' Guardian.

'A remarkably accomplished and interesting debut' Literary Review.

Sinossi

You can't escape the past.

He was the cold steel behind Franco's regime. The fear behind Franco's power.

57 years ago, Comandante Leopoldo Guzmán disappeared without a trace. They know what he did, but they don't know where he's gone.

Madrid, winter 1953: the snow lies thick on the ground and Comandante Guzmán of the Brigada Especial is preparing a dawn raid. His job is to hunt down opponents of Franco's regime and destroy them. Feared by all in Franco's Spain, Guzmán takes what he wants: food, drink, women.

That is about to change. Guzmán is going to find himself on the wrong side of Franco, and on the wrong side of history. It's not the first time Guzmán has been on the wrong side. But there's no one left alive who knows about that... until he gets a message from a dead man...

Madrid, 2009: Ana María Galindez is a forensic scientist investigating a mass grave from the Franco era. Now she is hunting for the hidden ledger of secret policeman Leopoldo Guzmán - a man who disappeared without trace in 1953. But there are those who would rather the secrets of Guzmán's ledger stay buried. Galindez' pursuit of the past has revealed a battle for the present...

Dettagli prodotto

  • Formato: Formato Kindle
  • Dimensioni file: 1066 KB
  • Lunghezza stampa: 592
  • Editore: Head of Zeus (1 ottobre 2012)
  • Venduto da: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Lingua: Inglese
  • ASIN: B009IU5396
  • Da testo a voce: Abilitato
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Non abilitato
  • Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: #266.684 a pagamento nel Kindle Store (Visualizza i Top 100 a pagamento nella categoria Kindle Store)

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Amazon.com: 4.8 su 5 stelle  5 recensioni
5 di 5 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle Some brilliance, some tedium 31 dicembre 2012
Di Sid Nuncius - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato:Copertina rigida
This is a mixture of a book - terrific in parts but with some serious flaws which get in the way of it being the excellent novel it could have been.

Three stories are told simultaneously. The central tale set in Madrid in 1953 is bleak, gripping and brilliant. The compelling central character is Guzman, an utterly unprincipled, self-serving torturer and murderer who directs a unit of secret police for Franco's repressive fascist dictatorship. The story is exceptionally well told, the atmosphere superbly conjured and the characters all horribly believable. There are also brief flashbacks to events in the Spanish Civil War during 1936, also well done and whose significance becomes clear late in the book.

Unfortunately, interspersed with these very good stories is a present-day tale of a forensic investigator and her two historian colleagues who are investigating Guzman's history and trying to piece together who he was and what happened in 1953. Sadly, I found this story trite, unconvincing and rather uninteresting. Mark Oldfield is trying to show parallels between Franco's truth-suppressing totalitarian regime and postmodernist historians who regard history as narrative with no objective truth, but an exercise in personal interpretation where the truth is just what you can persuade people to believe. Now, I regard this approach (and postmodernism in general) as a toxic intellectual pollutant, so I am absolutely in sympathy with Oldfield here - but, oh dear, it does go on. Plastic characters, endless indignation about oppressive attitudes, a silly plot...no matter how much I agreed with what was being said it was tedious and absurd, and it badly marred what could have been a really fine book.

I have given this four stars because the 1953 story was so good, but the modern one is two-stars at best. Frankly, I think you'd be best off skipping the present day bits: you'd miss almost nothing and could immerse yourself in a really good, informative and atmospheric historical thriller.
1 di 1 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle À brillant book! 18 agosto 2013
Di Jean Dupont - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato:Copertina rigida
I read this book avidly, not wanting to put in down. Although this is a fiction, I really enjoyed learning about the Civil war and how things were during Franco's regime. Although Guzman is not really a likeable character , you start feeling things for him towards the end. I was in Madrid at the time so enjoyed the book even more! I can't wait for the sequel in 2014!
5.0 su 5 stelle Great read! 10 aprile 2014
Di sandra o'flynn - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato:Formato Kindle|Acquisto verificato
Great read - could hardly put it down. Prior to buying I was hesitant about the number of pages but tore through it in no time at all.
Highly recommended (from a hard marker!).
5.0 su 5 stelle Madrid is a superstar 22 marzo 2014
Di Caroline Angus Baker - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato:Formato Kindle
As soon as I heard about Mark Oldfield’s ‘The Sentinel’, I was desperate to get my hands on a copy. The subject is a personal favourite, 1950’s Spain and life under Franco – I could hardly wait. What makes the story special is that it is spread over two time periods, 1953 and present day, and a third small period set in Civil War Spain, which gave a smattering of clues along the way.

The 1953 storyline is superb. The cold misery of Madrid is ever present – it is icy and dark; the scene set is a perfect companion to lives filled with fear and desperation. One could not imagine the sun shining on Comandante Guzmán, the head of the Brigada Especial, assigned with the task of rounding up the last of dictator Franco’s enemies. The man is an exceptional character. No matter how cruel or apathetic he is, every moment is enjoyable. A series of characters surrounds Guzmán – all stupid, greedy and egocentric, but he has no trouble with being one step ahead of the lot of them. Guzmán is, no doubt, involved in a violent responsibility but seems constantly at ease with his life in the Brigada Especial. It has been a long time since a male character has felt so honest, realistic or enjoyable to read. It doesn’t matter if Guzmán is shooting ‘rojos’ that he has rounded up, belittling his subordinates, or threatening every man, woman and child who stumbles across his path, the reader feels on his side. There are no excuses made for Guzmán’s behaviour, no ‘extenuating circumstances’; he continues down a violent path and seems proud of himself. Franco and his minions count on Guzmán, and Guzmán is determined not to fail, and determined not to be killed in the process. Watch out for a memorable meeting between Guzmán and his mother. It was a scene that certainly stood out.

The story gives itself a totally different pace with the chapters based in present day Spain. Ana Mariá Galindez is a guardia civil forensic scientist, who stumbles across Guzmán while investigating the discovery of 15 bodies, murdered and dumped back in 1953. At first, Ana comes across as jaded; a woman in a man’s world in every respect. She is intelligent and independent, and seems like a character that a reader could sit down and enjoy. Ana has a past, no fault of her own, but it has scarred her in a way that she seems permanently cynical. Ana’s romantic relationships with other women are all sustained by her professional life – these women are intertwined in her search for Guzmán and his 1953 disappearance. She has a penchant for picking terrible lovers; the women are annoying and weak at best. Ana’s redeeming feature is that she believes people like Guzmán are not a product of their situation, but rather that they have their own opinions, beliefs and evil machinations. She believes that Guzmán is merciless on his own, and not just a Franco puppet. Her chapters fly by at a rate that the reader can barely keep up with the timeline, with an ending that leaves the reader begging for the second instalment from the author.

At almost 600 pages, the book gives two thoughts: one that it is a book on Spain that could keep a reader going for weeks and another that they could face a wordy, overworked story packed with unnecessary fluff. Fears are unfounded. It is easy to sit down and read 100 pages without so much as glancing up from the pages. The swapping between the time periods could make a reader zip through Ana Mariá to get to more Guzmán. All the way through, the ending seems visible, and then more surprises rear their heads. The end can give a sense of feeling let down, but this was no fault of the author, but rather because it is easy to become invested in the outcomes for the characters, which rarely happens.

Ultimately, the story is different from expected. A fan of female lead characters could feel disappointed. Ana Mariá has all the attributes of a brilliant lead, but she seems stiff and cold to those around her. She lacks a soul, although the situations she finds herself in do not allow for sentiment. So much is at stake, even her life, but in the end, it may not be possible to worry about whether she lives or dies. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily.

The Civil War chapters seem to have no purpose in the story, until near the end where the puzzle comes together, and it feels like a slap in the face – they are, in fact, valuable and insightful. As a Spanish Civil War fan or not, a reader should welcome any chapters on the subject, and in the end prove their worth and light up Guzmán’s life even more. They are fantastic treats and an astute way of recalling how Guzmán became the ‘hero of Badajoz’.

Guzmán is the star. He is undoubtedly malicious, spiteful, selfish and calculating, but not heartless if it suits him. No need for knowledge on the history of Spain to enjoy this book, but if a reader is educated on the subject, they will be delighted at the accuracy and the detail thoughtfully put in by the author. There should be high anticipation for the second ‘Vengeance of Memory’ novel. Thank you, Mark Oldfield, for bringing Franco’s Spain back to life.
5.0 su 5 stelle An Excellent Yarn 17 gennaio 2014
Di Brett H - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato:Copertina flessibile
This novel moves between the era of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, 1953 and the near present. If one needs anything to convince you about the horrors of that era and it's terrible
Legacy under Franco then this is certainly that novel.

The main protagonist of the novel is Commandante Guzman ,a very young army Officer in the Civil War, who becomes one of Franco's right hand men in the decades after. Franco does not want to forgive and forget,rather he wants to continue to reek havoc on anyone who may have had anything whatsoever to do with the Republican cause during the war. It seems no job is too awful for Guzman and his band of men, one of whom was released from a lunatic asylum and behaves as such.

In the near present, a University professor begins an investigation into Guzman, whilst a Police forensic scientist excavates a pile of old bodies in an old mine shaft. The novel reaches its crescendo with the discovered Guzman continuing to reek another form of revenge in a nail biting finale.

I really enjoyed this novel. It's lengthy, over 500 pages, so not for the faint hearted, but it is spun as an excellent yarn which keeps you wanting to read on. It's also a fascinating insight into the Spanish Civil War and its legacy. Bring on more novels like this, please.

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