The Shadow of the Wind is the first in a series of linked stories by Barcelona based Carlos Ruiz Zafon. (The Angel’s Game is a prequel which released later, A Prisoner of Heaven follows the story after The Shadow of the Wind and an as yet unreleased book will end the series).
1945 Barcelona is still coming to grips with the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War and Daniel Sempere, our main narrator and hero, is the son of a book-dealer. The narrative starts when a young Daniel is taken by his father to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books where he is allowed to pick only one book to take out with him. His father explains that once Daniel makes his choice, he must be the book’s caretaker, guardian and protector.
Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.
The mysterious The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax is the one that speaks out to Daniel, and later the very book that offers him solace from the loss of his mother. Curious about Carax’s other writing, Daniel stumbles upon a startling discovery – a shadowy figure who calls himself Lain Coubert (the name of the devil in The Shadow of the Wind book) has been systematically destroying every copy Carax has ever written; making Daniel’s copy potentially the only surviving. Over the span of a decade, Daniel unwittingly falls headfirst into his very own gothic mystery as he unravels the life of Julian Carax and gets much more than he ever bargained for.