The Rose of Fire by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of The Shadow of the Wind, is like many other authors these days in that he is pumping out short stories for digital devices.  The Rose of Fire is one such story, but this story tells the tale of how the Cemetery of Forgotten Books was born at the time of the Spanish Inquisition in the fifteenth century.  The labyrinth of books is an intriguing idea, and Zafón’s prose is at once lyrical and absorbing, transporting readers into another time and place.

As fear and suspicion are around every corner, many Spaniards keep to themselves in the hope that they will be spared the wrath of the church.  Raimundo de Sempere, who knows too many languages to stay outside the church’s suspicion, is a printer who is asked to translate a mysterious notebook found on Edmond de Luna, the only surviving man of a ship left battered and adrift near Barcelona just after a plague has ravaged the city.

“Edmond de Luna could see himself reflected in those eyes that resembled huge pools of blood. Flying like a cannonball over the city, tearing off terrace roofs and towers, the beast opened its jaws to snap him up.”  (ebook)

Zafón has created a tantalizing back story for his series of books about the library, and for those who have not read his previous books in the series, The Rose of Fire serves as an introduction to that fantasy world he’s created in which magic and nightmares come alive.  While the story is enchanting and absorbing, it is likely to leave readers wanting more in the way of character development that would likely come with a longer piece of work.  In many ways, this ebook release achieves its goal of ensuring the reader will look for more of the author’s work, but it seems to be a means to an end only, rather than a well developed short story.  With that said, Zafón is a talented author who creates believable worlds full of adventure and conflict.

About the Author:

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a Spanish novelist. Born in Barcelona in 1964, he has lived in Los Angeles, United States, since 1994, and works as a scriptwriter aside from writing novels.

This is my 53rd book for the New Authors Reading Challenge 2012.


  1. I’ve been curious about this author, but I’ll be sure to skip this story.

  2. Cemetery of Forgotten Books — that’s a term I’ll have to remember. Not to get off topic here but the Cemetery of Forgotten Books grows every day through authors that passed away, retired or quit. Their books add more bones to that cemetery.

  3. I’ve only read the first book but this story is appealing!

  4. I hadn’t heard anything about this. I loved, loved, loved Shadow of the Wind but haven’t read either of the other books he has written set in that world.

    • I haven’t read any of his work, but I thought this would give me a glimpse into his writing style. I liked his writing style, but this story just seemed too much like a marketing ploy.

  5. I’ve heard about authors writing short digital stories between longer novels. It was interesting to see one reviewed. It’s nice to connect with another book lover!

    • I like the idea of these short stories between novels, but I think some are more part of a marketing campaign than an actual short story that stands on its own.

  6. I’ll have to tell my sister about this one.

  7. Interesting! I am down to just a few pages of his new one, The Prisoner of Heaven and I must say…he is either trimming his work down or he’s tiring of the topic and ready to move on. His new book is 250+ pages in hardback! Very short!

  8. Thanks for the honest review. Zafón is an author I mean to read, but I won’t start with this one — sounds like it’s, as you point out, part of a campaign to sell more of his work to folks who like it.

    • Zafón is an author I’ve wanted to read for a long while, and I thought that the short story would give me a glimpse into his writing. However, while I did get a glimpse, the short story felt incomplete to me, like a marketing ploy for me to buy his books on which this story is based.