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The Angel's Game Paperback – May 18 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Canada (May 18 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385667647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385667647
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.5 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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Most helpful customer reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Aug. 5 2009
Format: Hardcover
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stardust on June 6 2010
Format: Paperback
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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By Mys M TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 31 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ruiz Zafón's gothic psychological thriller takes us on a journey through 1920s Barcelona with a writer named David Martín who carries a lot of tragic baggage from an unhappy childhood. Abandoned by his mother, beaten by his father, desperate to read anything he can get his hands on, and protected by the neighbourhood book seller, Señor Sempere, David has a rather cynical and dark outlook on life. When his father is killed at his caretaking job on the newspaper, The Voice of Industry, David is taken under the wing of a wealthy patron, Pedro Vidal, who occasionally writes for the paper and convinces editor Don Basilio to give the ambitious 17-year-old an opportunity. The result is an ongoing serial story, "The Mysteries of Barcelona", which David refers to as "penny dreadfuls," as well as alienation from older more experienced writers on the paper. After a time, he is pushed out, and, through his friend Vidal, he secures a 20-year contract with a pair of publishers of the most despicable reputation. David begins turning out a book a month for a series called "City of the Damned", and he becomes the main character in a reality version (or possibly a madness version) of his own plots.
Our hero rents a long-abandoned, eerie home with a history of mystery, violence, and the supernatural. He becomes obsessed with his writing, the mystery, and the deterioration of his own health. Between the blurring lines of a bizarre reality and the dark imaginings of David we see something of a Picture of Dorian Grey or a Faustus, where someone has made a pact with the devil.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 novel is also expansive, wise, and would become a classic. The character of Isabella is unforgettable, and the final redemption of the 'would-be' writer Vidal is deeply felt. However, in about the middle the book became messy. There are too many characters, too much betrayal, and the impression that if everyone is bad, then it doesn't matter who is who. A great novel slips into a detective thriller.
Even the main character, David Martin, doesn't know who he is. How guilty is he?
I don't understand the two Cristinas. Why is the mature one so desperately unable to be happy, and who is the child Cristina, who is brought to Martin by Lucifer? Is she a child of human parents,or did the Devil create her to please and torture Martin for eternity?
In every work of art there should be a believable outline. Only then can we believe in the unbelievable,that is,if the feeling of normality is maintained all around. So, I must say that this novel was a disappointment considering the expectations.
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