Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Prisoner of Heaven: the horrors of Montjuic Castle

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon converges the characters from The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game. We met up with Daniel Sempere, enjoying life after the events of The Shadow of the Wind. He soon hears the story of his friend’s Fermin’s past as a stranger comes to tear his life apart.

The story opens at Christmas time 1957, when a stranger comes in to the bookstore and buys an expensive copy of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. He leaves a message for Fermin which leaves him frightened and looking over his shoulder. Fermin reluctantly tells Daniel his story. The story is transported back to Barcelona, 1939 where Fermin has begun his time at the infamous Montjuic Castle. He soon befriends a fellow prisoner named David Martin, known as the Prisoner of Heaven. The evil Governor Mauricio Valls persuades Fermin to find out where another prisoner has hidden a treasure. Fermin recognizes that he must find a way to leave the castle. Together with Martin, they hatch an escape plan a la Dumas. Daniel hears this story and he realizes who is really responsible for his mother’s death and seeks revenge. Who is the stranger? What does he want with Fermin? Will Daniel be able to avenge his mother’s death?

I enjoyed this book so much as it was a great culmination of the other two books and leads to the fourth and final book in this series. The fourth book, unfortunately, has not been published and there’s no word yet when it will be. The Prisoner of Heaven was an easier read than the other two books but I enjoyed finally seeing more in depth of the infamous castle which was mentioned in the other books. I highly recommend these Carlos Ruiz Zafon books. There are a great Gothic adventure told in the beautiful but tragic backdrop of Barcelona in the early 20th century.