The Prisoner of Heaven

Are you ready to renew your library card for the the Cemetery of Lost Books? Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s latest Gothic tale of mystery and political intrigue – The Prisoner of Heaven – continues the adventure from his The Shadow of the Wind, but the history of that escapade is not necessary to understand or enjoy this one.

Daniel Sempere is grown, married, and a father; he continues to work at the bookstore with his father. Fermin, itinerate lover, spy, and rogue, is about to be married, but the dilemma of his identity becomes one of the threads that Zafón weaves to tie the present to the past. Worrying that he will not be able to rightfully give his bride a name he has stolen, Fermin tells the story of his past in an electrifying series of events during the early days of Franco’s dictatorship – the best part of the book.

The story slows at times, when the present intrudes – with Daniel suspecting his wife of infidelity or mysterious dark figures lurking in corners, and the plot teases the reader with expectations that are never resolved. You may suspect who and where Daniel Martin, the writer, hostage, and prisoner of heaven is, but Zafón will not give you the satisfaction of being sure. Maybe the next book will reveal more.

Despite the vague ending, Zafón has delivered another riveting historical thriller.

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Rose of Fire – short story by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Clever marketing isn’t necessary for one of  Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s books, but who can resist a free story? Rose of Fire, a  Zafón short story, is a free download on iBooks, and ends not only with a tantalizing cliffhanger, but also continues with the first two chapters of  Zafón’s latest Barcelona adventure – The Prisoner of Heaven – a tease that’s hard to resist.

Rose of Fire reveals the origin of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, the library from which a fortunate patron can take only one book in a lifetime. This secret repository is the premise for Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s novels: The Shadow of the Wind, its prequel The Angel’s Game; and now the sequel The Prisoner of Heaven.

If you’ve read Shadow of the Wind, familiar characters reappear – Fermin Romero de Torres, friend and former spy, and Daniel Sempere, now grown and still at the bookstore. The Prisoner of Heaven is the continuation of Zafón’s Shadow of the Wind – more intrigue, mystery, and danger in a Gothic tale- masked by the politics of the Franco dictatorship.

Zafón is one of my favorite authors and Shadow of the Wind is at the top of my books to recommend. The Prisoner of Heaven promises to continue the excitement, and, of course, I had to buy it after reading those first “free” chapters.