That rare thing, an old-fashioned, proper, big novel: The Siege is as much a thickly described historical fiction as a many-layered crime novel. The judges admired the claustrophobia of the siege of Cadiz (for both sides) during the Peninsular War that forms the detailed background to the investigation and the author’s serious ethical intentions. To quote Orson Welles, Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?
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