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The Maze of Cadiz

First novel in the critically acclaimed Peter Cotton series following the fortunes of British spy Peter Cotton. For all fans of John le Carre, Robert Harris, Eric Ambler and Graham Greene. 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.
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First novel in the critically acclaimed Peter Cotton series following the fortunes of British spy Peter Cotton. For all fans of John le Carre, Robert Harris, Eric Ambler and Graham Greene.

About the Author

Aly Monroe was born and educated in England. Trained in linguistics, she has lived abroad - mostly in Spain - and speaks several languages. She is married and has three children. The Maze of Cadiz is the first book in the Peter Cotton series, The second, Washington Shadow, and the third, Icelight, shortlisted for the 2012 Ellis Peters Award for Historical Fiction, are also available from Hodder & Stoughton. You can find out more about Peter Cotton and Aly Monroe via her website, or at, through her official facebook page at, and you can follow her on Twitter at


'Highly recommended' * * "Very moving...plot is intriguing" * New Books * 'Monroe's eye for character and the general atmosphere of the book make it an entertaining read' * The Fiction Desk (online) * 'In Aly Monroe's memorable thriller, British agent Peter Cotton arrives in the port to investigate the death of a fellow intelligence officer and immediately finds himself in danger' * Waterstone's Books Quarterly * 'Monroe writes in an intriguing way that is not always easy to follow but does seduce the reader to keep turning the pages' * Dover Express & Folkstone Herald * 'It is extremely well written, involving, clever, emotional and satisfying - a debut novel of the very highest promise' * Nick Hay, Reviewing the Evidence * 'Monroe lines up an array of strong and picturesque characters' * Edward James, Historical Novels Review * 'First-time novelist Aly Monroe brilliantly evokes the atmosphere of the southern Spanish seaport...this is the first in a promised series of Peter Cotton novels. I can't wait for the next' * Birmingham Mail * 'Fans of convoluted espionage fiction will find much joy in this, the first instalment of a promising new series' * Mat Coward, Morning Star * 'I have been quite captivated ...The book had me totally convinced that Ms Monroe knows her Spain and, more to the point, knows the Spain of 1944 ...wonderfully atmospheric, very well-written' * Mike Ripley, Shots * 'The slow pace of this novel is deliberate and perfectly authentic as it captures the Spanish approach to life ... a joy to read and a real page turner' * Eurocrime * 'Intelligent spy tale with little action and lots of intrigue ... very atmospheric' * Bookseller * 'Her writing is skilful and evocative...The Maze of Cadiz is a stylish and impressive debut' * The Economist * 'Addictive' * Sunday Telegraph * 'Cotton's investigating is clever and fascinating' * Matthew Lewin, Guardian * 'Aly Monroe is a newcomer to crime writing, whose accomplished debut, The Maze of Cadiz, is set in 1944 ... Monroe's portrait of Cadiz in the aftermath of the civil war is atmospheric, and in a surprising twist the mild-mannered Cotton turns out to be as devious as his adversaries' * Joan Smith, The Sunday Times * 'Aly Monroe has created an impressive novel with an extraordinary, dream-like atmosphere ... only the first of a series of novels about him. The next can't come too soon.' * Natasha Cooper, Financial Times * 'The Maze of Cadiz is a splendid debut mystery ... Monroe provides terrific and convincing historical atmosphere; I am delighted that she is writing more Peter Cotton novels' * Marcel Berlins, The Times * "Very moving...plot is intriguing" * New Books * 'Accomplished crime-writing debut...atmospheric and surprising', * Sunday Times (Culture), Joan Smith *

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