The setting is the early 1900’s. Martin lives a meagre life working for a paper where his dreams of becoming a famous writer like his mentor Carlos in Barcelona, Spain are being inspired.
After looking back at his unfortunate life being abandoned by his mother at an early age, and his father being shot in front of his eyes behind the paper, Martin has had his share of pain and unfortunate events.
Carlos, his mentor who is a bestselling author, keeps pushing him to realize his dream. Martin doesn’t think that he will become a writer in any form, until he is asked to write a column for the paper he works for. After writing some articles of fiction under a pen name, he is more popular than he ever dreamed possible. His friend Carlos assists him getting a contract for writing books using a pseudonym, where no one realizes or clues in to that it is indeed Martin.
A few books into his contract, he buys this house that has been vacant for decades. He has always had an affinity with this house for as long as he can remember. As he strolls inside the house, there is something strange about it. The previous owners have left clothes and other articles inside. At about the same time, he is experiencing blinding headaches, where he falls unconscious in the middle of the street, where further tests reveal he has a tumour in his brain, not expected to live long.
Martin keeps receiving these letters slipped under his door, with a wax seal. Not knowing who they are coming from or who this person is that sends them, he forgets about it until the person meets him face to face in a dark cryptic house, and gives him the offer of a lifetime. An offer to write a book that will make him become rich beyond his dreams. Martin thinks this is an offer too good to be true, and declines.
A period of time has passed, Martin is worn down by his publishers and the contract he signed, which he wants out of. So, after much contemplation, he accepts this other publishers offer to write one book. Almost instanteously, his headaches are gone, he feels more energetic and healthy then he has since well ever. Coincidence?
This book and the characters catapult Martin and his friends into a mysterious sequence of events. Things like his former publishers building is burnt to the ground, which leaves more questions than answers. Then there is his personal life, where the women he wants to marry and fell in love with is married to his mentor. A girl that likes Martin is just as stubborn or more so, is much younger and wants Martin to teach her how to write as well as he does.
I loved this book. The intersecting mix of characters, the tone of the book, as well as the characters being brilliantly composed and masterfully woven into the storyline from start to finish. Plotted with precision and translated with expert accuracy, left me with wanting more of the characters combined with the dark mystery and intrigue of Barcelona.