A dark mystery lurks in the heart of Calcutta in this young adult novel from bestselling author Carlos Ruiz Zafón, translated from the original Spanish by acclaimed translator Lucia Graves.
Set in Calcutta in the 1930s, The Midnight Palace begins on a dark night when an English lieutenant fights to save newborn twins Ben and Sheere from an unthinkable threat. Despite monsoon-force rains and terrible danger lurking around every street corner, the young lieutenant manages to get them to safety, but not without losing his own life...
Years later, on the eve of Ben and Sheere's sixteenth birthday, the mysterious threat reenters their lives. This time, it may be impossible to escape. With the help of their brave friends, the twins will have to take a stand against the terror that watches them in the shadows of the night—and face the most frightening creature in the history of the City of Palaces.
Zaf n (The Prince of Mist) delivers an often creepy adventure, first published in Spain in 1994, populated with some wonderful characters. In British-occupied Calcutta in 1916, a soldier saves two babies (at the cost of his own life), and the children's grandmother leaves one at an orphanage to throw off the evil person chasing them. Sixteen years later, the boy, Ben, is reunited with his sister, Sheere, after a brutal attack on the orphanage. Along with Ben's fellow orphans (including narrator Ian), the siblings take on the mysterious sorcerer Jawahal, who has fire-based powers and a connection to the twins' late father. Zaf n adeptly establishes his characters (including some fun and believable teenage repartee) and makes good use of his setting. His Calcutta has many of the mystical elements that many writers associate with the city, but it also shows the political strain of a city subject to years of hostile colonization and ready to break free. Just as importantly, Zaf n delivers moments of genuine horror, as well as expert plot twists that move the story along. Ages 12 up.