The above books are both set in Barcelona, around the end of the Second World War, and are part of the same series. However, unlike with many other book series, they are not dependant on each other and, but the author’s own admission, can be readout of sequence.
The Shadow of the Wind, ostensibly the first in the series, focuses around Daniel Sempere and the book he acquires at the Cemetery of Forgotten Books at a young age. It follows his life and his strange desire to find more about the author who’s book he now owns, which turns into a tragic tale of desperate men and women doing the best they can, in a world ravaged by war.
The Prisoner of Heaven, the third book in the series, starts out a week or so before Daniel Sempere’s best friend, Fermín Romero de Torres, is to get married and delves into a time, long before Daniel was born, of de Torres’s life during the war, of his time in prison and of the men he met there, specifically David Martín, an author.
Both novels have a Gothic/ noire feeling to them, and I found both books to be suffused with sadness. The writing in each is beautiful and descriptive, giving you just enough flavour of the time and place to conjure vivid images without drenching you in excessive detail and pulling you out of the story. As I mentioned before, I found both stories to be sad and tragic, something I feel partly comes from the setting. The backdrop of war and the poverty that comes after add immeasurably to the flavour of the tales and the sadness.
I highly recommend both these books, and I am endeavouring to acquire the other 2 books in this series.