The third in a series of novels that began with The Angel's Game and The Shadow of the Wind.
The Prisoner of Heaven returns to the world of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and the Sempere & Sons bookshop. It begins just before Christmas in Barcelona in 1957, one year after Daniel and Bea have married. They 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.
Carlos Ruiz Zafon worked as a screenwriter in Los Angeles for ten years before the publication of his fifth book, The Shadow of the Wind, in 2001. It has been translated into over 40 languages and was a finalist for the Premio Fernando Lara. Ruiz Zafon is now a full-time novelist and regular contributor to the newspapers El Pais, La Vanguardia and El Mundo. He lives in Barcelona.
'The seductions of narrative, for Zafon, are not unlike the allures of erotic love. He actually succeeds in making bookishness sexy.' Weekend Australian
'Carlos is a natural-born storyteller.' Good Reading
'The Prisoner of Heaven is the kind of fiction that invokes the curiously warm pleasure of reading from a printed page, rather than the cold blue light of an electronic screen, and draws its storytelling vitality from the same well as the great 19th-century novelists such as Victor Hugo, Alexandra Dumas and Charles Dickens. Such writing offers many valuable things, not least a poignant reminder of what we could lose if we fail to navigate a safe passage through our ongoing microchip revolution. Highly recommended.' Canberra Times
'Melodrama succeeds when there is no embarrassment in its execution, and Zafon is a splendidly solicitous crafsman, careful to give the reader at least as much pleasure as he is evidently having...Like his countryman Arturo Perez-Reverte Zafon combines sincere engagement with genre tradition, with clever touches of the literary postmodern...This is, joyously, a book about books, about what can be learnt from them and what is lost when they are lost.' Sydney Morning Herald
'The Prisoner of Heaven is the third part of the story and, like the first, is narrated by Daniel Sempere. But it too contains stories within stories, and the real narrative here belongs to the irrepressible Fermin Romero de Torress...Zafon's characters and dialogue are as lively and full-blooded as ever.' Observer
'This book is filled with literary allusions, some subtle, some with all the subtlety of the Spanish Inquisition. It is one of the finest examples of magical realism, kindred to everyone from Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Isabel Allende. This is more than an exhilarating read: This is an experience not to be missed by those with both heart and mind.' Louisville Courier Journal
'This is explicitly, and joyously, a book about books, about what can be learned from them (say, how to follow someone in the street), and what is lost when they are lost.' Guardian
'Full of stylish writing, Gothic atmosphere and love letters to 19th-century novels.' Washington Post
'A heady atmosphere permeates every page of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's masterly tale...The city comes alive: the ancient stone buildings, the cobblestone streets, the pedestrians as they hurry along in their dark trench coats...A compelling tale of mystery with as many twists as Barcelona's medieval streets, and infused with a love of delightful language and drama.' Dominion Post Weekend, Waikato Times and Weekend Press (NZ)
'Full of warmth and emotion, The Prisoner of Heaven draws on his previous books to move a step further into a remarkable fictional world.' Sunday Star Times
'An unforgettable series that has attracted fans addicted to the tales of the cemetery of lost books.' Illawarra Mercury
'Beautifully written.' Adelaide Advertiser
'Zafon relishes the conventions of popular fiction flagrantly manipulating stock characters and concealing mysteries inside mysteries - usually inside books. And that's perhaps the most improbable feature of Zafon's (literally) escapist world: here nothing matters to people as much as old books and the secrets they keep. It's a romantic fantasy for book lovers, but in the digital age it answers a nostalgia for dear old paper book that is only going to grow stronger.' Sunday Age/Sun Herald
'The unique inventiveness in the dialogue and the superb stylish writing behind the story are as engaging as ever.' ABC Queensland