Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Library of Shadows - Mikkel Birkegaard

"Luca Campelli's wish to die surrounded by his beloved books came true late one night in October". But the life of his son, a successful lawyer in a reputed firm in Copenhagen is about to change. Estranged from his father after the tragic death of his mother, grown up hating him for over 20 years, Jon would never have expected to be invited for the funeral function. Luca is running successfully an antiquarian book stall for over half a century and Jon, being the only heir inherit the bookshop as natural choice.
Iverson, the long time companion of his father invites him to discuss the future and a new world is about to open in front of Jon. Slowly, he realises the existence of a bibliophile society, whose own life surround the library and and the is the regular meeting place of the members. It is here that he understand the power of reading, and its effect on human, including some of the extreme possibilities including death of individuals. It is thus possible that his father too , would have died by possible manipulation by some of his enemies.

The story now turns into one of the typical thrillers, albeit with the over cast of the library and literary settings. Jon, get immersed in the activity of finding the truth of the death and the truth about his own life, on the reasons of his mothers death and his obvious (now) alienation from his father. The writer then takes us through the typical thriller settings with every second person being a suspect, the two rebel groups of receivers and transmitters ( of the reading group - one who can influence the listeners by their oral powers are transmitters and those who can influence the reading by controlling the readers mind with the ability to manage their mind remotely) with each group blaming each other. A perceived underground organisation with history tracing back to the time before Christ and to an exotic location at Alexandria.

I am not a great reader of this genre of fiction and thus my excitement after reading this is limited. However, the writer have managed to keep the necessary suspense and maintained a fast paced narrative. I have not found the writing style to be impressive, which could be because of the translation if not for the general style of these type of novels.

A Danish thriller, a la Da Vinci Code, covered under the literally thriller camouflage. If you are a reader of these type of fictions, you most likely are going to go gaga over this as some of the reviews below.

The Library of Shadows ( 2007 )

Mikkel Birkegaard ( Translated from Danish by Tiina Nunnally)

Black Swan Books

430 Pages

Rs 325

Other reviews : Fantasy Book Critic , Thriller Fiction Suite

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