Sunday, 3 January 2010
The Library of Shadows - Mikkel Birkegaard
The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard is an unusual thriller set in Denmark and Egypt. Jon Campelli is a lawyer leading a professionally busy if somewhat emotionally sterile life in Copenhagen. His mother has been dead for many years and his bookseller father, Luca, refuses any contact with him. Jon's career star is in the ascendant when he hears the shattering news that his father has died and he is drawn into the strange and shadowy world of the Libri di Luca,the book shop that he has inherited from his father.
He is drawn into the strange and mysterious world of the Lectors; those rare and talented people who can influence other people's feelings and thoughts when they are reading, and who can even charge books with a special energy just by reading from them. The Transmitters can manipulate a listener's experience when they are reading aloud and influence how they are responding to the text and affect their emotions and ideas about the story they are hearing, while the Receivers can tune into what is being read by someone and amplify and distort the feelings and thoughts that they have whilst reading. A Transmitter and Receiver who work well together can be a formidable combination. Jon is also introduced to the disturbing theory that his father did not after all die of a heart attack but was some how murdered.
The Transmitters and Receivers used to be united in one Society, but now they are split apart and are very wary and distrustful of each other. Jon agrees to investigate his father's death and at the same time is given a new client to work with at his law firm; the slippery, evasive businessman Remer. As Jon get to work on his investigations with the help of his father's business associate Iversen and a beautiful Receiver that his father mentored called Katherina, he tries to bring the Transmitters and Receivers together, but this fragile trust is broken when the Lectors begin to die in mysterious circumstances.
As the plot thickens and the elusive Remer seems to show an unusual interest in the Libri di Luca, Jon turns to one of his clients for help. Mehmet is an Internet nerd who make his living from winning prizes in online competitions and helps Jon hack into computers and emails to extract the information they need.
Will Jon be able to find out who is behind the murders before another Lector dies tragically? Will he and Katherina be able to resist their growing attraction for each other? And will they realise in time the plans that Remer has that could change the course of history?
The action is both physical and cerebral and the idea of the Lectors is fascinating. Settle down with a Danish Open Sandwich and a big mug of beer for a thought-provoking read!