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Title: The Prisoner of Heaven
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Genre: Historical fiction, suspense
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 278
Date read: December, 2012

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 Fermin 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.

Even though The Prisoner of Heaven is the third book in the series of the Cemetary of Forgotten Books, it isn't necessary to have read the two first books in the series. It continues some of the story of especially Shadow of the Wind in such a way that will satisfy people who have read that book, but not confuse readers who haven't.

In The Prisoner of Heaven Fermin is in focus, and we are given his history - how he was imprisoned during the Spanish civil war, how he escaped with the help of a fellow prisoner, and how these events brought him into Daniel's life.

It's very different form the two other books - not the least because it's a lot shorter - but it still has the same gothic style, and I actually ended up thinking it was the best of the lot. I appreciated the look into Fermin's life and getting a better understanding for why he is the way he is.

The book clearly paves the way for a fourth book in the series, and I'll be interested in seeing what happens to Daniel and Bea next.


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