FICTION

The Labyrinth of the Spirits

Harper. Sept. 2018. 848p. ISBN 9780062668691. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780062668714. F
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OrangeReviewStarRuiz Zafón's fourth book in the "Cemetery of Forgotten Books" series (after The Prisoner of Heaven) takes place in Spain from 1938 to the 1970s. Familiar characters from the first three books are living under the repressive, deadly regime of Francisco Franco. Daniel Sempere and wife Bea run a book shop. Fermin survived the fascist bombings of Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and during one attack saved the life of badly injured nine-year-old Alicia Gris. Carrying mental and physical scars and now working as a kind of "fixer" for the police, Alicia is the focus here as she's sent on an assignment that brings her back to Barcelona and into the lives of Fermin and the Semperes. All is not as it appears and the ingrained character of violence, lies, and silence that defined the actions of the police and the government for almost four decades lead to a surprising ending.
VERDICT At approximately 800 pages, this book is a commitment, but it is one well worth making. Complex characters, rich language, and intrigue make it a story to be savored. [See Prepub Alert, 3/28/18.]

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