I wanted to let me mind absorb everything from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo before I plunged into the sequel so I decided to pick up a book a friend recommended to me, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. If I was looking for a quiet break from the suspense of the Stieg Larsson novel, this wasn’t it.
When I picked up Shadow of the Wind, it seemed to be the perfect read for a book nerd. The novel follows the main character, Daniel, the son of a rare books dealer, as he becomes entangled in the mystery surrounding a mysterious book entitled Shadow of the Wind. (A book about a book, does it get any better?). Daniel, after becoming intrigued by the novel, seeks others written by the same author, Julian Carax. But few seem to know anything about him except that for some years a dark and mysterious stranger has been collecting all the remaining copies of Julian Carax’s novels and destroying them. Before long this mysterious stranger approaches Daniel to obtain his copy, but Daniel strongly refuses to sell. Daniel hides the book to protect it but years later that is still not the end to this mystery. As Daniel learns more about the enigma that was Julian Carax, the greater danger he is in because someone is power is trying to keep a dark secret.
But the book goes even beyond an enticing literary mystery. Originally written in Spanish and published in Spain, the story is completely tied with Spanish history of World War II, a time period full of dissent and tension. As you go through the novel, you realize that what happened to Spain during this time period is significantly different from what was going on in the rest of the world. Spain’s unique political history is irrevocably tied with the older character who set up the complex mystery which sweeps up Daniel and his friends. The constant shifting political climate serves as the background for several of the characters. If you are looking to be swept away to unfamiliar world where everything is possible, give this book a try.