Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Prisoner of Heaven

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
278 pgs  (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series #3)

The Prisoner of Heaven is the third and latest book from Zafón featuring the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, and it maintains the level of excellence Zafón delivered with the first two books--which is a notable achievement.

In this one, it's Fermin Romero de Torres, an enigmatic employee at Sempere and Sons Bookstore, who is the central character. The book begins with a visit to the bookstore by a mysterious man who leaves behind an unusual gift with a message for Fermin. That visit leads Fermin to finally reveal to Daniel Sempere the story of his mysterious past.

He recounts his imprisonment in 1939 during the war, where he meets David Martin (the central character in The Angel's Game) and his daring escape from that fortress of a prison. The impact that his time spent in prison and the men he deals with there had and continue to have on his life make up a fantastic tale that is reminiscent of two of my favorite books: The Count of Monte Cristo and Les Miserables.

The books are not told in chronological order, And Zafón has said that it doesn't matter which order you end up reading them in. The first book, The Shadow of the Wind takes place after the events of the second book: The Angel's Game, and I agree that it really doesn't matter which of those two books you read first. But I'd definitely recommend reading both of those before this third one. It ties those two books together wonderfully and in ways that wouldn't be fully appreciated if read beforehand.

There is one more promised installment to this series and I can't wait for it to come out. With each additional book in the series, Zafón's brilliance becomes more evident. It's a beautiful story he's telling, and each book interweaves with the others in both surprising and rewarding ways.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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