Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a Spanish writer, living and working in Los Angeles, California. His previous works includes El príncipe de la niebla (The Prince of Mist, from 1993), Las luces de septiembre (1995) and Marina (1999). Lucia Graves, Robert Grave's daughter, has translated the Weidenfield & Nicholson release of The Angel's Game (El juego del ángel) and has done a fantastic job. There's really no other way to put it. The English version maintains flow, good dialogue and a very coherent story voice.
The Angel's Game takes place in Barcelona, Spain, during the late 1910's and into the 1920's. The main character is David Martin, who manages to make his way out of poverty and create a place for himself in the world of writing by a newspaper. On his way, his friend and mentor, Pedro Vidal is a great asset, along with the inspiration he gets from Dumas and Stoker. "The Mysteries of Barcelona" becomes his running series in the newspaper, and though it's full of morbid images, Don Basillio, the editor, continues to approve and publish the young writer's stories.
David soon leaves the newspaper, starts writing pulp fiction and publishes these books on a less-than-reputable publishing house. He makes good money, but is still not very happy with his situation. When he is approached by Andreas Corelli, he takes the offer to write a book for him, with a one-year deadline. The reward is money, of course, and lots of it, along with the restoration of David's health, which has been deteriorating severely. Questions start to rise quickly though, as to who exactly this Corelli is, and what, exactly, might be the price of the large reward that Corelli is promising.
The plot of The Angel's Game is intriguing, compelling, beautifully written and immensely dense. It takes a lot of patience to keep reading if you're used to fast-paced Ludlum or Dean Koontz novels. Around page 350, the reader who is unfamiliar or unloving of the 600+ pager will probably tire. There is detail down to the color and feel of pens, plus long-winded conversations and banter between David and his female companion-slash-assistant, Isabelle.