"I climbed the steps and rapped with the knocker a few times. The echo trailed off inside, like ripples on a pond. Fermin, who had assumed a respectful silence and looked like a boy on his first day of school, turned to me anxiously."
Fermin and Daniel and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books are back in a book that I have been waiting years for. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a favorite author of mine and his Shadow of the Wind title is near the top of my all-time favorites. He does not disappoint in this sequel, shining the spotlight on the affable, skirt chasing Fermin and diving into his murky past. When we first met this lovable character he was in tattered rags and his body a sack of bones. Daniel, our spirited protagonist takes him in and nurses him back to life. We now know why Fermin was in the state he was in and what he was coming from that dreaded night that Daniel happens to stumble upon him. After an insidious character shows up at Daniel's bookshop, the past of Fermin begins to come alive, unearthing all of his past secrets that the author has created for us via flashback.
Zafon is a very simple writer of impeccable technique and has mastered the art of character development. All of his stories are intriguing and set against backdrops that reek of adventure. This book is no different and is really a series of fascinating characters that have something unfortunate in common. They have all been arrested and set to rot away in the city dungeon for being outspoken against the dreaded Franco regime of 1940's. Thieves, authors and bohemians alike attempt to weave together a patchwork of humanity in the struggle to survive their individual sentences and the wrath of Warden Valls. Valls is memorable villain who is every shade of odious imaginable. If you have not read Shadow of the Wind, I would highly suggest pulling up Amazon.com and ordering it stat, along with this sister novella. I promise you will enjoy them both immensely and Carlos Ruiz Zafon will become someone whose work you fall in love with.