Book Review: Until The Curtain Falls

Madrid is literally at the heart of David Ebsworth’s latest novel, Until the Curtain Falls – with its Spanish version, Hasta Que Caiga el Telón, due for publication this month.

The book is a gritty thriller set in the final six months of the Spanish Civil War and follows the exploits of journalist Jack Telford from Pamplona, in territory then occupied by Franco’s rebels, to the siege of Madrid and, finally, to the closing weeks of the tragedy in Alicante on the Mediterranean coast.

But, during the journey, Telford slowly becomes aware that his own government may have been playing a dirty game – and he’s going to pay a deadly price for the knowledge.

Ebsworth (the pen name of retired union negotiator, Dave Mc- Call) says: ‘We live for much of each year in Guardamar del Segura – just south of Alicante. It’s a favourite summer holiday destination for many madrileños, of course, and I was inspired by them to focus on the lesser-known story of Madrid in the final years of the war.’

The novel’s depiction of Madrid, then in the third year of its siege, is compelling. And its fictional protagonists mingle realistically with true-life characters like the British consul, John Milanes, the Republican priest, Father Leocadio Lobo, and many others.

Set against archive evidence that the British intelligence services played an active part in helping Franco launch his military coup, then turned a blind eye as Britain’s armaments industry was deprived of badly-needed Spanish mineral wealth, Until the Curtain Falls leads Telford to conclude that, should there be a wider conflict against Hitler and Mussolini on the heels of the Spanish Civil War, Britain will not be its innocent victim but, rather, one of its causes.

‘I’d already written an earlier Spanish Civil War thriller, The Assassin’s Mark,’ says David Ebsworth, ‘based on the bizarre fact that Franco enticed literally thousands of international holidaymakers to northern Spain, while the conflict was still raging, to take part in battlefield tours. But Until the Curtain Falls gave me the chance to use archive and artifact sources as the background to many other stranger-than-fiction aspects of the conflict. And I’m simply delighted that my publisher, SilverWood Books, is now launching the Spanish edition here.’

For more information about David Ebsworth’s novels and buying links, his website is:

His novels are available through and other outlets, and the Spanish edition will be available through all good bookstores, distributed by: Martín Fierro Libros, SA, Alicante.

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