Monday, 27 September 2010

9+: The Prince of Mists - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Release Date: 27/05/10


In 1943 Max Carver's father - a watchmaker and inventor - decides to move his family to a small town on the Atlantic coast. They move into a house built for a prestigious surgeon, Dr Richard Fleischmann and his wife but abandoned when their son drowned in a tragic accident. Behind the house Max spies an overgrown garden surrounded by a metal fence topped with a six-pointed star. When he goes to investigate, Max finds statues like troupe fill the garden. In the centre is the large statue of a clown set in another six-pointed star. Max has the curious sensation that the statue is beckoning to him. As the family grows increasingly uneasy when they discover a box of old films belonging to the Fleischmanns, his sister Alicia has unsettling dreams while little Irina hears voices whispering to her from an old wardrobe. But Max spends most of his time with his new friend Roland, who takes him diving to the wreck of a boat that sank close to the coast in a terrible storm. Everyone on board perished except for one man - an engineer who built the lighthouse at the end of the beach. During the dive, Max sees something that leaves him cold - on the mast floats a tattered flag and on it is the symbol of the circle and six-pointed star. As they learn more about the wreck, the chilling story of a legendary figure called the Prince of Mist begins to emerge ...


Sometimes a foreign author gets a break and manages to sell one of their titles to another nation. Often these books are overlooked or the translation fails to impress the other countries readers. So with a bit of trepidation I gave this title a go, and boy, was I pleased I did.

The story was not only riveting but one that was eerie with a capital E. Whilst it took me a while to adjust to the time period in which its set, I really did get goose bumps as the story unfolded. Whether this is because of the years of horror I have at my disposal I don’t know, but Carlos’ story was scary it wove its way into the psyche and above all else it was the fear of the unknown that gave this offering the edge. A great offering and one that will definitely stay with me for some time to come. I really do hope that other titles by this author are made available to the UK audience as I’d love to see what else he has in his bag of tricks.

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