Skip to main content

About the Book

About the Book

The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind is a coming-of-age tale of a young boy who, through the magic of a single book, finds a purpose greater than himself and a hero in a man he's never met. With the passion of García Márquez, the irony of Dickens, and the necromancy of Poe, Carlos Ruiz Zafón spins a web of intrigue so thick that it ensnares the reader from the very first line. The Shadow of the Wind is an ode to the art of reading, but it is also the perfect example of the all-encompassing power of a well-told story.

At the first light of dawn in postwar Barcelona, a bookseller leads his motherless son to a mysterious crypt called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. This labyrinthine sanctuary houses the books that have lost their owners, books that are no longer remembered by anyone. It is here that ten-year-old Daniel Sempere pulls a single book-The Shadow of the Wind-off of the dusty shelves to adopt as his own. With one fateful turn of a page, he begins an adventure that will unravel another man's tragedy and solve a mystery that has already taken many lives and will shape his entire future.

When Daniel speaks with Gustavo Barceló, a local booktrader, to find out more about his new treasure, word begins to spread that he has uncovered a long-sought rarity, perhaps the only copy of any of Julián Carax's works in existence. Soon after, a mysterious stranger whom Daniel recognizes as Laín Coubert, the leather-masked, cigarette-smoking devil from Carax's novel, propositions Daniel, offering to buy the book from him for an astronomical price. Daniel refuses, in spite of the man's thinly veiled threats. With the help of his bookselling friends, Daniel discovers that Laín Coubert has cut a swath of destruction through two countries, methodically searching for and destroying all of Carax's books while erasing every trace of Carax's life.

Daniel and his best friend Fermín Romero de Torres search through Barcelona, tracking down the people who knew the Shadow's elusive author best, hoping to understand Coubert's ruthless pursuit and why Carax's life came to a bitter end so quickly. Each clue reveals a little more about the tragedy of Julián and Penélope, star-crossed lovers who met their doom in a cursed mansion called "The Angel of the Mist." Daniel is swept up in unraveling the great mystery of the author's short but wretched life, an epic of two Barcelona families devastated by a secret no one could have guessed. Only when a woman is brutally murdered for trying to reveal the truth, and Fermín is framed for the crime, does Daniel begin to understand that the threat to his life is very real. And what begins as a young bibliophile's hobby turns into a diabolical murder mystery that, if Daniel is not careful, may write his own tragic ending.

The Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, translated by Lucia Graves

  • Publication Date: January 25, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 487 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
  • ISBN-10: 0143034901
  • ISBN-13: 9780143034902