In 1943 Max Carver's father - a watchmaker and inventor - decides to move his family to a small town on the Atlantic coast. But as soon as they arrive, strange things begin to happen. Max discovers an overgrown garden surrounded by a metal fence topped with a six-pointed star. When he goes to investigate, Max finds statues like a circus troupe fill the garden. In the centre is a clown set in another six-pointed star. Max has the curious sensation that the statue is beckoning to him.
The family grows increasingly uneasy when they discover a box of old films, his sister Alicia has unsettling dreams, while little Irina hears voices whispering to her from an old wardrobe. But Max spends most of his time with his new friend Roland, who takes him diving to the wreck of a boat that sank close to the coast in a terrible storm. Everyone on board perished except for one man - an engineer who built the lighthouse at the end of the beach. During the dive, Max sees something that leaves him cold - on the mast floats a tattered flag and on it is the symbol of the circle and six-pointed star. As they learn more about the wreck, the chilling story of a legendary figure called the Prince of Mist begins to emerge...
Originally published in 1993, Ruiz Zaf n s (The Shadow of the Wind\n) first novel, unavailable in English in the U.S. until now, is a melancholy horror tale that explores the implications parents choices can have for their children. During WWII, Max and Alicia Carver, 13 and 15, move with their family to a coastal Spanish village and meet an older local boy named Roland. As the three spend their time diving and exploring the town, they become aware that an unsettling force is lurking nearby. Visits to Roland s adoptive grandfather fill in the story of the Prince of Mist, who has been bargaining for souls for decades. As the children learn more about the mysterious figure, they find themselves in greater danger. In gorgeously translated prose, Ruiz Zaf n maintains a sweet, believable relationship among the characters when dealing with mundane concerns (a conflict over cleaning out a room full of spiders could be taken from any contemporary family film), but still conveys a sense of adventure and danger. The bittersweet ending suits the theme and setting, offering both hope and tragedy without any pretense of fairness. Ages 12 up. \n
Initially I was disappointed when I realised this was a Childrens book but I couldn't put it down, very good read
This may be a book for 'young adults' but after reading other books by this author I decided to have a look. I really enjoyed the book, Carlos has a way of writing that puts amazing images in your head, a really good read that would also make a good film!
Carlos Ruiz zafon is a amazing writer. Great imagination.