The Shadow of the Wind years ago. Now, Carlos Ruiz Zafon has a new novel out, The Angel's Game.
At the heart of the story is David Martin (accent on the "i" in Martin). He is a writer, a good one. However, we all know that just because you are a good writer, doesn't mean you can make a living out of it. David maneuvers his way through the newspaper world, and later as a writer, under a pseudonym, of serial mysteries.
David gets involved with the wrong element. Read: the devil. He is given an assignment to create a new religion/book and agrees in exchange for his life. It is true that most modern religion stemmed from one book, the Bible. People live and die and kill and love for the words in this book. Words are power. While David navigates the streets of Barcelona, his dealings with the devil, love, and family, the reader is treated to incredible prose. This is Zafon's strength.
Luckily for that, since the real crux of the story doesn't really begin until page 200. That is a flaw that could potentially lose a reader. And while I still think it a flaw, the writing is so delicious, I was engaged right away. The winding streets of Barcelona, the funky and mysterious architecture of Gaudi, the long-abandoned tower house that David moves into; the setting is rich and fascinating.
There are a few plot points I think unnecessary, despite being interesting. For example, David is deemed worthy enough to be taken into this tremendous underground labyrinth of forgotten books. He is to choose one that he must agree to save and bring into the realm of the living. Though it does connect, loosely, to the rest of the narrative, it really isn't necessary and I think could (and should) belong in it's own novel.
However, I would recommend this book, but with mild reservations that it isn't as strong as Zafon's earlier novel, The Shadow of the Wind.