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Translated by Lucia Graves
The bestselling author of The Shadow of the Wind takes us back to the shadowy streets of Barcelona and the world of the Sempere and Sons bookshop.
Continuing the story of The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game, The Prisoner of Heaven leads us to the enigma at the heart of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. It is a mesmerising tale of passion, suspicion and betrayal.
It begins just before Christmas in Barcelona in 1957, one year after Daniel and Bea from The Shadow of the Wind have married. They now have a son, Julian, and are living with Daniel’s father at Sempere & Sons. Fermin still works with them and is busy preparing for his wedding to Bernarda in the New Year. However something appears to be bothering him.
Daniel is alone in the shop one morning when a mysterious figure with a pronounced limp enters. He spots one of their most precious volumes that is kept locked in a glass cabinet, a beautiful and unique illustrated edition of The Count of Monte Cristo. Despite the fact that the stranger seems to care little for books, he wants to buy this expensive edition. Then, to Daniel’s surprise, the man inscribes the book with the words ‘To Fermín Romero de Torres, who came back from the dead and who holds the key to the future’. This visit leads back to a story of imprisonment, betrayal and the return of a deadly rival.
‘This is explicitly, and joyously, a book about books, about what can be learned from them (say, how to follow someone in the street), and what is lost when they are lost.’
‘This book is filled with literary allusions, some subtle, some with all the subtlety of the Spanish Inquisition. It is one of the finest examples of magical realism, kindred to everyone from Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Márquez to Isabel Allende. This is more than an exhilarating read: This is an experience not to be missed by those with both heart and mind.’
‘Full of stylish writing, Gothic atmosphere and love letters to 19th-century novels.‘
‘A romantic fantasy for book lovers.’
‘A heady atmosphere permeates every page of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s masterly tale…The city comes alive: the ancient stone buildings, the cobblestone streets, the pedestrians as they hurry along in their dark trench coats….A compelling tale of mystery with as many twists as Barcelona’s medieval streets, and infused with a love of delightful language and drama.’
‘Full of warmth and emotion, The Prisoner of Heaven draws on his previous books to move a step further into a remarkable fictional world.’
‘An unforgettable series that has attracted fans addicted to the tales of the cemetery of lost books.’
‘Zafon relishes the conventions of popular fiction flagrantly manipulating stock characters and concealing mysteries inside mysteries-usually inside books. And that’s perhaps the most improbable feature of Zafon’s (literally) escapist world: here nothing matters to people as much as old books and the secrets they keep. It’s a romantic fantasy for book lovers, but in the digital age it answers a nostalgia for dear old paper book that is only going to grow stronger.’
‘The unique inventiveness in the dialogue and the superb stylish writing behind the story are as engaging as ever,’