19 July 2017

Until the Curtain Falls by David Ebsworth



Amazon UK £3.49 £10.99
Amazon US $4.52 $13.99
Amazon CA $20.70

This title was shortlisted for the July Book of the Month

Adventure / Fictional Saga
1938
Spanish Civil War

Jack Telford, an English journalist, is in a spot of bother. Franco's soldiers want him, the Russians want him and even the British want him. And all because he killed a colleague and, instead of sticking to the story that he has made up he decides to go on the run and with one aim in mind – to assassinate General Franco.

Of course we know that this idea is doomed to failure, but what follows takes us through the reality of the Spanish Civil War – the lies and the truths, the duplicity of politicians, the patriotism of the nationals, the cruelty of the new regime as well as the deprivation of the people and the horrors of prison camps.

I discovered, by chance, that this book is a sequel to an earlier volume entitled The Assassin's Mark and that did help to explain some confusion at the beginning because I was wondering just why Jack Telford pursued his particular path of action. Having said that, the back story is explained and I see no reason why this cannot be read as a standalone, although I would recommend reading the first story before the sequel.

Because David Ebsworth has an excellent way of telling a tale: his descriptions of both people and locations make you feel as if you know them, his prose often comprises of short sharp  sentences, sometimes just one word sentences even, that add to the tension or the thoughts of the character or, where this occurs, the urgency within the dialogue. The creation of his characters – the fictional ones – have great depth and believability and are easy to warm to – or to fear.

Once into the story, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it through to the dramatic conclusion. Highly recommended as a well crafted, top class novel about a rarely written episode of world history.

© Richard Tearle

* * * 
#2

When I read   The Assassin's Mark, I didn't think the excellent finale with its unexpected twist could be continued with a second book. Well, David Ebsworth has proved me wrong. There are more loose ends to tie up than I had thought of, and new plot ideas, as well as a lot more to tell about the Spanish Civil War. I love it when sequels don't repeat a formula but dare to take different directions.

While book one took place in a very brief period of time in 1938, this novel takes its time, literally, and captures a wider spectrum of historical events and politics. Hero Telford finds himself in a hot spot following the finale in Book One and needs to get out of it soon.

This takes us on a journey through war torn Spain from 1938 until the end of the war. He tries to escape to safety through a minefield of dangers and enemies, travelling across the country and on the way giving us insights into the situation in various locations, all of which provide yet another perspective on the war: areas occupied, besieged and captured, scenes of destruction and violence.

New characters bring further perspectives on the war while the suspense and drama provide a gripping and engaging storyline. This is truly excellent, as a sequel, as a stand alone and as a portrait of the war.

Historically astute and well researched: highly recommended.

© Christoph Fischer

click here to return to home page 'Bookshelf' then scroll down for more items of interest


3 comments:

  1. Thanks to Richard and Christoph for the reviews - and to Helen, of course, for posting on "Discovering Diamonds". Great timing too since yesterday marked the 81st anniversary of the Spanish Civil War's beginning. And just as a bonus, here's a link to the 50 Spanish Civil War photos published yesterday by the International Business Times - one of the best collections I've ever seen:http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/spanish-civil-war-anniversary-50-powerful-photos-horrific-conflict-1630676 But besides that I'm happy to pick up any comments or queries.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Dave - here's the direct link to the one you mentioned above to save cut/paste Click Here

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment. It should appear shortly - if it doesn't please contact Helen as we value your support.