The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man - David Martin - makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books, and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city's underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house are letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner.
Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Then David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book with the power to change hearts and minds.
In return, he will receive a fortune, perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realises that there is a connection between this haunting book and the shadows that surround his home. Set in the turbulent 1920s, The Angel's Game takes us back to the gothic universe of the Cemetery of the Forgotten Books, the Sempere and Son bookshop, and the winding streets of Barcelona's old quarter, in a masterful tale about the magic of books and the darkest corners of the human soul.
The gothic landscape of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books - the winding streets of Barcelona's old quarter - haunt a novel about books and writing and secrets. Wonderful. -- Kate Mosse THE TIMES SUMMER READING ROUNDUP - 27.06.09 The prose is intelligent but unpretentious, and the author is clear in his intentions to provide a rollicking, fun read... the novel's themes address the power of narrative, and many sharp lines pertain to storytelling... hugely enjoyable. -- Lionel Shriver THE DAILY TELEGRAPH 06.06.09 Scintillating second novel... a heady brew of detective thriller; supernatural horror tale, magical realist fable and heartbreaking love story... and the central role of books, especially fiction in our understanding of the human condition. THE DAILY MAIL 05.06.09 In this book about books, Zafon writes about Spain's harrowing history with literary aplomb. THE TIMES - 30.06.09 A thrilling labyrinthine plot packed with murder, mystery and an obsessive love affair -- Fanny Blake WOMAN AND HOME - JULY 09 ISSUE another imaginative gothic tale HARPERS BAZAAR - JULY 09 ISSUE Those who were hooked on Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind will be similarly entranced by The Angel's Game... dark and disturbing narrative... Surprising and bittersweet, it's as potent as an Audrey Niffengger novel, with a nod to a certain nineteenth-century romance. -- Clare Longrigg PSYCHOLOGIES - JULY 09 ISSUE enter the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for another terrifying adventure. -- Suzi Feay WATERSTONES BOOKS QUARTERLY - June 09 revisits some of Zafon's much loved urban landscapes in old Barcelona. Yet this novel stands alone, a complement or even an antagonist to its forerunner. If the previous book celebrated the ecstasies of reading then this one - no less in love with literature, and no less crammed with archetypal plots - explores the agonies of writing. -- Boyd Tonkin THE INDEPENDENT 05.06.09 wit, style, great sex and a hugely entertaining plot. MAIL ON SUNDAY - 21.06.09 his narrative style embraces relentless pace and fantastical and magical diversions... Zafon is the tempter. THE GUARDIAN - 13.06.09 His enterprise is bold, serious and shocking. His treatment of Spain's tortured history in the 20th century is as significant as his literary skill. These are things that belong not just to one city but to the world. -- Margaret Reynolds THE TIMES - 23.05.09 The author's affection for Dickens is imprinted through like a watermark...can't help but engage anyone who believes that life can be shaped by books. Aided here by Lucia Graves's clear and unfussy translation, The Angel's Game draws with relish on all the conventions beloved of Wilkie Collins, Dickens... then weaves them into something entirely original and suprisingly moving that holds the readers expectations until the final twist. -- Stephanie Merrit THE OBSERVER - 28.06.09 Zafon is master of the atmospheric. its faith in the power of fiction is endearing, and addictive. FINANCIAL TIMES - 27.06.09 In a feature headed Predicting the hottest reads this summer , he notes that Waterstones expects to do well with... Carlos Ruiz Zafon's new tale of bookish mystery. -- Nicholas Clee THE TIMES SUMMER READING ROUNDUP - 27.06.09 Readers familiar with The Shadow of the Wind will find themselves back in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, the echo of Eco where, from a labyrinthine library, volumes seem to select their readers... rattling good gothic fun. SPECTATOR - 13.06.09 Carlos Ruiz Zafon's trip to the UK is one of the highlights in a busy season for events. WATERSTONES BOOKS QUARTERLY - 10.04.09 Summer and reading go together like buckets and spades and sultry days are made for chunky page-turners such as THE ANGEL'S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Weidenfeld, June 1). It unfolds in Twenties Barcelona where a young man undertakes to write a book that will change people's lives. The task is daunting and the stakes perilously high. -- Hephzibah Anderson THE DAILY MAIL - 1.05.08 Boyd Tonkin, looks ahead to the daring books of May and after running through May's list of AS Byatt, Kazuo Ishiguro, Hilary Mantel, Monica Ali and Jake Arnott and Colm Toibin, he looks forward and says THE ANGEL'S GAME is a novel which might outperform even this month of marvels when it is published in June. -- Boyd Tonkin THE INDEPENDENT - 1.05.08 The Cemetery of Forgotten Books -
a colossal labyrinth of bridges, passages and shelves - is a wonderful creation, and there are many thrilling set pieces. -- Mark Sanderson SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 07.06.09 The Angel's Game is full of gothic features: darkness, ruined houses, locked rooms, the smell of damp earth and portentous conversations conducted by candlelight. THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT 29.05.09 starts off as an intelligent literary thriller, but morphs into action-packed adventure with a hefty body count. DAILY EXPRESS 12.06.09 Zafon's noirish plot keeps things ticking over and his talent for hot-blooded, believable characters is undiminished... bodes well for what is a planned Barcelona quartet. LONDON METRO 10.06.09 spellbinding new bestseller... Succeeding brilliantly on several levels The Angel's Game is the finest novel I have read this year, and stands as a fascinating tribute to the power of the human imagination. YORKSHIRE EVENING POST - 30.05.09 One of the most highly publicised author visits of the year will take place in June, when Carlos Ruiz Zafon arrives in the UK. BOOKBRUNCH.COM - 18.05.08 The Angel's Game is equally brilliant both in translation and originality... You are left to find your own way out of the labryrinth - a pleasant fate for a reader to have to face. THE BOOK CATAPULT website dripping in atmosphere. It's Super Gothic, an old-fashioned creepy tale... a much darker book... I don't think I can say much more about this book without sounding like I'm gushing. The Angel's Game won't have to be put in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books but it will make on to my Bookshelf of Unlendable Books. If I lent this one out and never got it back there would be hell to pay. book-a-rama website The Angel's Game more than delivered the goods. This is another wonderful convoluted plot set in Barcelona... Zafon fans will be happy to know that the Cemetery of Forgotten Books is very much a feature. -- Bookseller's Choice, June - The Bookseller 13.3.09 RODNEY TROUBRIDGE, FICTION MARKETING, WATERSTONES Anyone who was entranced by Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind cannot fail to feel the same about The Angel's Game. Set in Barcelona again, this time in the 1920s, it takes us back to the same mysterious gothic world of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books etc. A young writer, David Martin, makes an impossible deal: in exchange for his life and a fortune he must write a book that will change lives. Simply brilliant and worth staying up most of the night to finish. -- Bookseller's Choice, June - The Bookseller 13.3.09 SARAH CLARKE, DIRECTOR, TORBAY BOOKSHOP Fans of Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind and new readers alike will be delighted with this gothic semiprequel... dark labyrinth that, by masterful design, remains thrilling and bewildering. -- Publishers Weekly - 06.04.09 BOOK OF THE WEEK The novel works on so many levels of eerie enchantment... There is no resisting this... magical world of books. SAGA - July 09 an addictive read. THE IRISH TIMES - 13.06.09 Another gothic tale about the magic of books and the darkest corners of the human soul -- John Spain IRISH INDEPENDENT - 02.06.09 If you're looking for a hearty good read for the summer hols, a book you can doze over by the pool, pack it with the sunscreen and midge repellent. It's got the lot: good setting (Barcelona noir), old fashioned chunky plot, a dash of horror and the merest shaving of raciness... The mysteries within mysteries will be enough to keep you turning pages even after a couple of cervezas. THE HERALD - 06.06.09 hugely ambitious THE SCOTSMAN 30.05.09 The tale is rich, evocative and literate, with Great Expectations and Faust among its more nakedly displayed influences. Zafon is a great describer, with a cinematic flair for murders and sexual encounters. -- Nick Curtis EVENING STANDARD - 28.05.09 Will grip you from start to finish. -- Emma Lee Potter DAILY EXPRESS - 10.07.09
About the Author
Carlos Ruiz Zafón was born in Barcelona and grew up under the shadow of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia cathedral, just a block away from the family home. For a few years he lived in Los Angeles, working as a screenwriter, and has published four novels for young-adults before escaping everything to write THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, a novel that has become an international literary phenomenon in over 20 countries. His work has been translated into 17 languages. Now back in Barcelona, he is presently at work on a new novel.
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