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The Angel's Game [Paperback]

Carlos Ruiz Zafon
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 18 2010
From master storyteller Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author of the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind, comes The Angel’s Game — a dazzling new page-turner about the perilous nature of obsession, in literature and in love.

The whole of Barcelona stretched out at my feet and I wanted to believe that when I opened those windows my new windows each evening its streets would whisper stories to me, secrets in my ear, that I could catch on paper and narrate to whomever cared to listen

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 lie photographs and 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. Close to despair, 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 unlike anything that has ever existed — a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.

Once again, Zafon takes us into a dark, gothic universe first seen in The Shadow of the Wind and creates a breathtaking adventure of intrigue, romance, and tragedy. Through a dizzyingly constructed labyrinth of secrets, the magic of books, passion, and friendship blend into a masterful story.

From the Hardcover edition.

Frequently Bought Together

The Angel's Game + The Prisoner Of Heaven + The Shadow of the Wind
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Product Description


Fans of Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind and new readers alike will be delighted with this gothic semiprequel. In 1920s Barcelona, David Martin is born into poverty, but, aided by patron and friend Pedro Vidal, he rises to become a crime reporter and then a beloved pulp novelist. David’s creative pace is frenetic; holed up in his dream house—a decrepit mansion with a sinister history—he produces two great novels, one for Vidal to claim as his own, and one for himself. But Vidal’s book is celebrated while David’s is buried, and when Vidal marries David’s great love, David accepts a commission to write a story that leads him into danger. As he explores the past and his mysterious publisher, David becomes a suspect in a string of murders, and his race to uncover the truth is a delicious puzzle: is he beset by demons or a demon himself? Zafón’s novel is detailed and vivid, and David’s narration is charming and funny, but suspect. Villain or victim, he is the hero of and the guide to this dark labyrinth that, by masterful design, remains thrilling and bewildering. (June) -- Publishers Weekly, starred Review

Another delicious supernatural mystery from bestselling Catalan author Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind, 2005).Mix Edgar Allan Poe with Jorge Luis Borges, intellectual mysterian Arturo Pérez-Reverte, and maybe add a dash of Stephen King, and you have some of the makings of Zafón’s sensibility. Fans of his earlier book will be pleased to find themselves on patches of familiar ground, including a revisit to that wonderful conceit, the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Indeed, this is a prequel–but only of a kind: Familiar figures turn up at points, only to seem less than familiar as the narrative twists and turns. The none-too-heroic hero, David Martín, is an aspiring journalist who bucks hackwork to turn in a crowd-pleasing series for a tough boss. This leads him into an onerous contract with the usual crooked publishers and, indirectly, into a rivalry with his former mentor–all of which, naturally, entails love triangles and smoldering egos. The picture is complicated by the arrival of another curious publisher, Andreas Corelli, who offers David piles of pesetas to write, well, a book of a different sort, involving research that yields piles of corpses and occasions ample cliffhangers. Zafón has a fine talent for inserting unexpected hitches into a story line already resistant to graphing, whose outcome is definitely not seen from afar. The plot resolves in a rush, for the author finds himself with many a loose end to tie up, but once it sinks in, the result is more than satisfying. Zafón delivers a warning about the dangers of obsession, mixed with an obvious passion for literature and the printed word; his book is also a song of love for Barcelona with all its creaking floorboards and hidden subbasements.A nice fit with the current craze for learned mysteries and for spooks of both the spying and the spectral kind. -- Kirkus Reviews

Praise for The Shadow of the Wind

“One gorgeous read”—Stephen King

“Diabolically good”—Elle magazine

“Superbly entertaining”—Washington Post

“Breathtaking”—New York Times

“Wondrous”—Entertainment Weekly

“Magic”—New York Times Book Review

“Absolutely marvelous”—Kirkus

“Infectious”—The Economist

“Outstanding”—Library Journal


“Gripping”—Philadelphia Inquirer

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is the author of The Shadow of the Wind and other novels. After Cervantes, he is the most widely read Spanish author of all time. His work has been translated into more than forty languages and published around the world, gathering numerous international prizes and reaching millions of readers. He divides his time between Barcelona and Los Angeles.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every book has a soul.... Aug. 5 2009
By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves.

I loved Zafon's breakaway bestseller novel The Shadow of the Wind and have eagerly awaited the release of The Angel's Game from Random House Canada.

David Martin is raised in poverty in Barcelona in the early 1900's. Orphaned, his love of words is what saves him. The owner of a bookstore - Sempere and Sons - also plays a significant role in his life. David lands a position at a newspaper and over the years works his way up to being a writer. He is befriended by a wealthy, older writer - Don Pedro Vidal - and begins writing successful, sensationalistic fiction under a pseudonym. When a mysterious French publisher, Corelli, offers him a small fortune to write a book that Corelli thinks will change the course of a belief system, he leaps at the chance. David moves into a small mansion that has been shuttered for years and begins to write. But Corelli is not what he seems and David's new home has secrets that threaten to consume him and those he loves.

The Angel's Game is intriguing, combining subtle supernatural elements with an actual mystery. It has a very gothic feel to it. There are many twists and turns, that change the story and keep you glued to the edge of your seat. Obsession is a theme running throughout the book - with love and language. David's love of Cristina - Vidal's wife and the written word are captured by Zafon's prose. His language is beautiful, seizing settings and bringing them to life. I could taste the dust in the bookstore.

The Cemetery of Lost Books plays a part in The Angel's Game as well. For those who haven't read The Shadow of the Wind, here's a passage that absolutely captivated me:

" This place is a mystery. A sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see, has a soul.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, compelling story, had to put down June 6 2010
Carlos Ruiz Zafon's 'The Angel's Game' came into my possession a few days ago when I was desperate to read "something" of the non-fiction selection in my local book store. It took me a while combing the shelves and finally my eyes fell upon his book. Love the cover, rich creamy pages, and bought it without hesitation. Opened it up and started to read it. I could not put it down. Set in Barcelona, with a rich flowing narrative, we get to know, and understand the complex characters like the hero, David Martin, a struggling writer to signs up for a deal he couldn't refuse, and ends up with more than he bargained for. Witty, well-written, and mysterious, the book does not fail to deliver.
A description of the book can be found on the author's website [...].
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4.0 out of 5 stars His words flow effortlessly March 20 2010
By jwc
His words flow effortlessly and feel almost alive. Richly descriptive, with a detailed environment faithful to the setting. I was transported, yet never quite felt connected to the characters or the places. Perhaps a visit to old Barcelona is needed. Perhaps the narrator is not meant to be understood and therefore neither are the other characters he describes, characters who all seem to have hidden layers and agendas shrouded in mystery. The story is very fluid and unpredictable, with a plot that often seems almost whimsical. At times it feels like you're floating on a stream of Zafon's imagination, one that meanders, changing directions and speed, but you have faith that Zafon is in control leading you towards a satisfying destination. You hold on, hoping that things don't unravel. It's a ride you want to savor though because there are not many out there who can deliver you so masterfully through such a voyage.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The book with soul Oct. 19 2009
I loved this book for a reason that usually makes me hate them : the ending, in fact the whole book, is ambiguous. You have to decide, at some point, what you want to believe about the story. Is it an insane man going around, creating his own reality? Or is it more? I chose my course with no regrets. But even if you are not thrilled with the possibilities, the author's beautiful prose alone should keep you going. His is a gift of the words, a way to say things that I wish I possessed. Thank you, Mister Zafon, for the beauty of every sentence.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Confirms Author's Place Sept. 22 2009
The Angel's Game should confirm for us, as English speakers, Zafon's stature as a teller of stories. The book is darker at its heart that The Shadow of the Wind but has the same compelling narrative drive. The lines of reality and magic, of innocence and evil, or of madness and sanity are crossed and recrossed as the tale progresses.
This is a story that will stick with you. I expect to reflect on it and through it on both high and lows in human lives, individually and collectively, for a long time.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING July 27 2009
one word for this book- AMAZING... I was reading for three days without closing the book once.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book rocks! Sept. 20 2009
If you're looking for a quick review, then just read this: I LOVED THIS BOOK!

If you're looking for a little bit more of an explanation, then read on.

I was/am a great fan of Carlos Zafon's novel The Shadow of the Wind. And the items that made The Shadow of the Wind book such an awesome read - suspense, romance, action, great character development - are all present here too.

In short, this book is about novelist David Martin. As he goes about his business of writing he becomes befriended by a mysterious French publisher. The publisher asks Martin to write a special novel and from there, the book takes on many different twists and turns. I'll refrain from writing any more as I don't want to give away too much of the plot. However know this. Give this book a read. You won't be disappointed.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Carlos Ruiz Zafon : The Angel's Game.
I have read The Shadow of the Wind by Ruiz Zafon and I liked that important novel very much. When I started reading The Angel's Game, at the beginning I had the feeling that this... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Hana
5.0 out of 5 stars couldnt be happier
the book i received was in great condition, i love this book and im so glad i got it at such a great price thank you !!!
Published 19 months ago by Lerna Jay
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Love the style, love the era, love Barcelona.
Follows from the first book, some of the same charcaters, some new ones.
Published 21 months ago by G. Holland
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as awesome as its predecessor
After reading "Shadow of the Wind", I knew I would ravenously read anything else Zafon would publish, and I was not disappointed in the least with the second installment of his... Read more
Published on July 27 2012 by G. Larouche
5.0 out of 5 stars The Angel's Game
Great read. The writer repeatedly lulls you into thinking this is a mystery, but then surprises you with sensitive interpersonal stuff that make the characters' personalities leap... Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2011 by Dr Eric A Saibil
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Mysterious & Gothic but Confusing
Reason for Reading: I had heard great things about Zafon's first book and the mysterious plot of this one intrigued me. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2011 by Nicola Mansfield
4.0 out of 5 stars not quite shadow of the wind
It was a beautifully written book. It relates somewhat to shadow of the wind, being a prequil, but the story line is extremely similar at times. Read more
Published on Aug. 1 2010 by yearning for shadow
3.0 out of 5 stars Good - But a Tough Read for Me
I confess, I was drawn to this book because of its cover. What reader could resist a cover that looks like this? Read more
Published on March 21 2010 by MacFly
3.0 out of 5 stars the angels game
I've only started to read this book, but so far
it is not spellbinding....I hope it improves with
Published on Sept. 24 2009 by H. Cutten
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