Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Angel's Game

About five years ago a friend gave me a copy of the book The Shadow of the Wind by Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This was back when I was just starting to enjoy reading fiction. That story was very well developed with its dark mysteries and layers of intrigues. That novel actually became an international best-seller and I definitely could understand why. Recently I came across another of Zafon's novels, The Angel's Game, and was amused to find out that it was the second book in the same series as The Shadow of the Wind, but its narrative took place before the first story, a prequel if you like.

The story follows the life of Daniel Martin, who grew up in Barcelona in the early 1900s, the son of a man whose life had gotten the better of him. He returned from war to find that his wife had left him and he was stuck with a son that he never wanted. His life was marked by alcohol and depression. To escape the dark cloud cast by his father, Daniel loved to read books and eventually grew up to be an author. Even though he was talented, the fates conspired to leave him damaged after his first novel failed to be noticed. In his depths of soulful reflection and hurt, he was vigorously pursued by a mysterious French publisher who offered him a fortune to write a book for him. Eventually David agreed, but the project was not what he had imagined and, in time, it was nearly his undoing.

This story, although part of Zafon's series The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, and connected to his novel, The Shadow of the Wind, really is a stand-alone book with just a few tertiary threads linking the two. The novel was vividly written and the depictions of his Barcelona were vibrant and alive. His dialog and character development allowed for complete immersion into his setting. A very enjoyable book with a bit of a awkward deus ex machina ending. I now move on to read the third part of the tale, The Prisoner of Heaven.