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The Maze of Cadiz

Aly Monroe

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ISBN 10: 1848540264 / ISBN 13: 9781848540262
Published by John Murray Publishers Ltd, 2008
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Maze of Cadiz

Publisher: John Murray Publishers Ltd

Publication Date: 2008

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: Good

About this title


Peter Cotton, a young Intelligence officer is sent to Spain in September 1944. The war in Europe is drawing to a close; formerly neutral Franco is edging closer to the Allies. Cotton has been sent to investigate the activities -- and then, just as he arrives, reports of the death -- of a British agent, May, who has spent much of the war in the remote outpost of Cadiz monitoring the Spanish smuggling of raw materials to aid the Axis war efforts, in strict violation of the terms of neutrality. Cotton is briefed in Madrid by Houghton, an agent working at the British Embassy. He also meets Houghton's partner, Marie, half-Jewish, who has helped many Jews escape through Gibraltar. They brief him on Franco, his paranoid fears of assassination, his capricious cruelty and his duplicity. Even as he gets on the train to begin the long, hot journey to Cadiz, it is clear that Cotton is being watched. And when he arrives in the rundown port, almost on the brink of starvation, it is clear that his visit has been expected. Reluctantly allied with the sinister Ramirez, the local police inspector, Cotton has to investigate May's death and what exactly led him to sever all contacts with his London controllers in the months leading up to his disappearance. But Cotton is not the only person with an interest in finding out what May had been doing. Cadiz is a hotbed of rumours and shifting political alliances in this, the final phase of the war and Cotton must navigate his way not only through local tensions but also through the uncertain loyalties of a bizarre expatriate community, including an unhelpful consul, a German woman married to a wealthy Spaniard and mysteriously marooned in the town, an apparently innocent Irish girl, and a strange British couple who chose to remain in Spain while the rest of Europe was engulfed in flames...What Cotton discovers amid the stifling heat and dust could just tilt the emerging balance of post-war power.

About the Author:

Aly Monroe was born and educated in England, daughter of a mathematician and a mother of Italian extraction. Trained in linguistics, she specialised in phonetics. Amongst the things she has done recently are voice coaching for Spanish actors doing classical plays and a voice-over for a US special on female victims of the Atocha bombings. She has lived in several countries mostly Spain - and speaks several languages. She is married and has three children. Monroe is her maiden name, Aly is what she is called, short for 'Allegheny'.
This is her first novel, part of a projected series that begins during the Second World War and follows the process of decolonisation and the aftermath of Empire.

'One of the most interesting parts of my life was watching the Spanish move on after Franco. Another was observing the extent to which Empire has influenced and continues to influence British attitudes even now. It has filtered through in fascinating ways. So my first impulse in my first book was to combine the two. There is history and there is personal history. I couldnt have made Ramirez without a real policeman in Cadiz who thought he was Clark Gable. I wanted to record the British cemetery there because I must have been one of the last to see it before it was made into a park. Even the Spanish cemetery is now gone the dead of Cadiz now go off to an American style park near Chiclana and silicone has replaced cement when sealing up the graves. As for influences for this book, I have read Graham Greene and Eric Ambler but a direct reaction here is Geoffrey Household.. When he was twelve my son told me he really liked a book called 'Rug Male'. This turned out to beRogue Male. It is an excellent book but for me it started a process not exactly of feminisation but towards something less cut and dried and more ambivalent, something less settled . I think it was Graham Greene who talked of the wavering men who mattered in the Second World War. I wanted to examine the nature of a particular wavering in an intriguing way.'

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