The Prisoner of Heaven (by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Fiction) c. 2012

Summary: Despite the struggles of the small bookstore, Sempere and Son, that Daniel Sempere runs with his father in the 1957 Barcelona under Franco’s brutal rule, life is looking is looking up. He has married the beautiful Bea, fathered a beautiful son, and his best friend Fermin Romero de Torres is about to be married. Yet as Christmas draws near, a dark and tormented figure carrying a secret from two decades will alter the fates of Daniel and his family forever.

Review: The Shadow of the Wind, the first in what is currently a three book series, remains a work of atmospheric beauty. This third entry, like Ruiz Zafon’s second work The Angel’s Gameis lovingly translated by poet Robert Graves daughter Lucia Graves. Ruiz Zafon is one of the rare writers who could write an utterly enthralling telephone book. While set in the same fictional world, Ruiz Zafon’s previous two books were each captivatingly capable of standing alone. This third book, at half the length of either of the previous two entries, binds together the standalone tales of the previous books and injects a hearty dose of nitroglycerin into a series that hardly needed it. The caveat is of course that you need to have read the previous two books in the series; you’ll be lost (if happily so) otherwise. If you have read the previous two books, however, you will likely devour this latest entry in a single sitting and begin counting down the days until the next installment.

Read-a-likes:Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s books are difficult to compare. Reader’s interested in Spanish history might give Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones de Sierra or the Captain Alatriste novels of Arturo Perez-Reverte.

Availability: The Lake Bluff Public Library currently owns this books as a book and audiobook. Click here to check on the availability.

Review by Eric.

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