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The Prisoner of Heaven Book Review

Updated on November 27, 2013

The book, Prisoner of Heaven is the third installment of the literary universe of Cemetery of Forgotten Books. It is settled in, after the events of book "Shadow of the Wind". The book is by far, one of the best works Carlos Ruiz Zafon, with many mixes of mystery, humorous dialogues, and never ending thriller that is sure to knock you off your feet.


Barcelona,1957. It is Christmas, and Daniel Sempere and his wife Bea have much to celebrate. They have a beautiful new baby son named Julian, and their close friend Fermín Romero de Torres is about to be wed. But their joy is eclipsed when a mysterious stranger visits the Sempere bookshop and threatens to divulge a terrible secret that has been buried for two decades in the city's dark past. His appearance plunges Fermín and Daniel into a dangerous adventure that will take them back to the 1940s and the dark early days of Franco's dictatorship. The terrifying events of that time launch them on a journey fraught with jealousy, suspicion, vengeance, and lies, a search for the truth that will put into peril everything they love and ultimately transform their lives. (Source :

The book starts off, calmly in a Christmas setting, then the plot enters for the one of the best joyrides of mystery and thriller. Any fans of the Cemetery of Forgotten books universe must be waiting for the plot of this book. It is settled in, once again, a different character named Fermin. All characters, like in "The Angel's Game" or "The Shadow of the Wind" are all different. But this installment is still narrated by Daniel Sempere, the protagonist of the first book. Let's start off with the plot shall we?

Once again, Carlos, has done well with the narrative. The pace was again, in perfect pace, modernize more than ever. It won't pull you in directly, instead it will guide you slowly to feel the plot, the story. The narrative will enter your mind, body, and soul.

First, Carlos, will give you a little sneak peek of what happened to to our main protagonist of the book "Shadow of the Wind". Then after, let you enter to another key characters's story (Fermin) that will give you a whole different story. The secrets that lie, on the events after of book "The Angel's game" will be all shown with the story of Fermin. The book will let you settle in and give you a feeling that someone is actually narrating a war story, right in front of you. It is a narrative within a narrative, and it is beautifully made, with mixes with the time of Daniel and the time of Fermin, and with the mysterious and ill-minded Prisoner of Heaven.You don't need to read the first two books, it is not a requirement, moreover, without needing to read the first two books, you will actually enjoy the book by in itself, independently.

There are also the amazing dialogues made by Carlos, that help to give life to the story. Humorous and interesting are the adjectives to describe the way the characters talk and interact with each other. This gives off a good smile or a good laugh in some needed parts of the book. And as we all know, Carlos, love his plot twists and mysterious plans. Which, of course, will be seen and read at this book. He also loves them Cliffhangers, so I suggest to get ready for that. For those who has read the first two books, will actually see through the twists and plot of the story, but it is still worth it, because it is a whole new story after all.


The place and time, are rather different in the book. First, it is located in the City of Barcelona(as always) but lighter that of the previous books. Then after it drags you to hell and darkness, by which considered by the book as "Heaven". The eerie outlines, the disgust and filth of this "Heaven" will give you, nothing more, but the feeling of home. For those who had read the books of Carlos, then this is your home, but for those new to him, it might take time to settle in, but let me tell you, that settling in this new home is worth it.

"Heaven" is a disgusting, filthy, prison camp for the POW's or spies. Well, not all of them are soldiers or spies, there are also those normal citizens of Barcelona, who are deep and stuck in this hell-hole. It is worth to love the beautifully made world and scenery of "Heaven".

Another part of the story is the darkness of the city of Barcelona, but it's no longer as dark as before, now Barcelona has given a little light and happiness that actually makes the readers and fans smile.

Both of the setting gives way to the great atmosphere and the great storyline that waits in the book. Being part and entering "Heaven" will sure give you a hell of a ride.


We all know Daniel Sempere from the first book, he's not so different, until in the later parts of the book where he starts to be fueled by anger and revenge. There was a little change of him though, but the next book might show us a completely different Daniel.(Which I'm sure there will be a next book.)

Then comes a character named Fermin. A worker of the Sempere & Sons bookshop he's not quite mysterious at first, but later on, his act and his movement becomes suspicious enough to actually show who Fermin really is. Fermin is different, before and after, which the readers will actually see the changes. But I can't spoil more of that.

Then comes the mysterious and ill-minded "Prisoner of Heaven" who is probably brought by insanity and regret. A man that will actually catch your attention and curiosity of he was before and what has happened to him.

There are also minor characters that helps the atmosphere and the plot, they are worth keeping notes and track especially the Warden of this "Heaven".


This goes to one of the must reads. Different from the other two books, this is independent title and installment is worth the time to read. It wasn't made to be very long, which I guess a little bit of its downfall, but it was enough to show the lives after, the first two books. It is a good book and a masterpiece of the mystery and thriller genre. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a true artist.



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    • Darksage profile image

      Khen Ramos 4 years ago from Philippines

      It's a must to read this book! Lovely narrative and story as always. Thank you for the comment!

    • jjackson786 profile image

      Jennifer 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I am a huge fan of "Shadow of the Wind", but I haven't gotten around to "The Prisoner of Heaven". Sounds adequately mysterious, though! Gotta love Carlos Ruiz Zafon's intrigue :)