The Prisoner of Heaven

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     Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a New York Times bestseller, has created another installment of his series, “The Cemetery of Forgotten Books.” The books can be read in any order, because they are written independently of each other, but involve the many of the same characters, events and places.

  The year is 1950 in Spain near Christmastime, and a family bookshop is about to close down because of the lack of customers. The son of the bookshop owner, Daniel Sempere, is left alone in the shop when suddenly, a strange man enters and buys a book, dedicating it to a person who works in the bookshop, Fermin des Torres.

  This sudden occurrence is a warning that this man is after him. Fermin begins to act like he is keeping a secret, so Daniel takes him to a café to discover what is happening. Fermin begins to recall his tale. It begins in 1939 when he is thrown into jail under Franco’s dictatorship in Spain. Where he meets different inmates put in jail for different things, where real or not, where the system is unstable, and the warden calls the shots.

  In the jail, Fermin meets the Prisoner of Heaven, David Martin. David is an author who probably has schizophrenia, and the closest thing to a friend to Fermin. He helps him escape jail for one reason only. The twist in the tale of all the deception, betrayals, endurance and the suffering of all the characters, including Daniel, is a page-turner.

  Zafon writes in a way where the present mixes with the past and the future, and events will keep you baffled until the very last page. You keep guessing and hinting at what is happening and who is responsible, and will be left to figure it out on your own or wait for the next book to come down and connect the dots.

  Zafon’s previous books in this series are “The Shadow of the Wind” and “The Angel’s Game.” For readers who like a little history from the viewpoints of your average Joe Blogs, this is the book to start collecting and savoring every detail, every phrase and the series of events that lead the reader to think about where the story will go and how it will end.

Deedee Jilani

Staff Writer

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