I have just this minute finished reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Like The Swan Thieves, it was recommended by my publisher as something I might enjoy based on my forthcoming release in February.
Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the 'cemetery of lost books', a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax.
But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from The Shadow of the Wind, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax's work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind. A page-turning exploration of obsession in literature and love, and the places that obsession can lead.
It was the last thing I read last night, and the first thing I picked up this morning. Perhaps not since The Lovely Bones have I devoted myself to reading at the expense of pressing things I ought to be doing. I stopped last night only because I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.
I won't even go into it, it was that good. It is something ingeniously special and masterfully written. Wonderfully original and mesmerisingly complex, full of mystery, poetry and profoundly real characters.