Kiwiflora's Reviews > The Library of Shadows

The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard
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Feb 18, 2011

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Read in February, 2011

Jon Campelli is a lawyer in Copenhagen, ambitious and doing quite well. He lives in an inner city apartment, drives a Mercedes and has a very good life. This is turned completely on its head when Jon's estranged father, Luca, who owns a second-hand bookshop in the city, dies very suddenly and violently. Jon, as the only surviving relative, inherits the bookshop and the staff, and very quickly discovers that things are not as they seem at the bookshop or with the staff. The bookshop is the base for a very secretive society of bibliophiles who have certain powers - either to transmit or receive communications through the power of reading. It does sound rather bizarre and peculiar, but when it emerges that there is an enemy of the group determined to take over control of the bookshop and hence the powers it holds for nefarious purposes, things take on a very sinister turn, and we have a true blue thriller, race against time on our hands.

Interspersed with this of course, is the requisite love story, self-discovery and self-improvement, plus some suspension of reality, which makes for a great story and plenty of tension. It takes the concept of 'talking books' to a new and very imaginative level and could almost put this story into the fantasy genre, if it wasn't so well grounded in the modern urban world that we all live in.

As readers we all know the power that books can have over us - escapism, knowledge, entertainment, opinions. Reading takes us to places and ideas that we may never have been exposed to, and so enrich us and empower us. This story greatly develops the idea of books being all powerful, and like all powers, can be used for good and evil purposes.

I enjoyed the imagination the author has used in writing his story. It is a bit clunky at times; far too much dialogue and conversation for a time of crisis and suspense when the future of the world is at stake! But there is plenty of tension, interesting characters, and you never quite what is going to happen next.

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