Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Angel's Game

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Angel's Game

by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon X
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2009, 544 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2010, 544 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

A Short History of Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain's second largest city after Madrid, is the capital of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia in the North East of Spain (map) and a major economic center for finance, business, media, arts and international trade.  Its location on the Mediterranean coast brings it mild, humid winters and warm, dry summers.  With a population of 1.6 million it is the eleventh most populated city in the European Union and the sixth-most populous urban area (after Paris, London, Ruhr Area, Madrid and Milan) with almost 5 million people living in the Barcelona metropolitan area.

Legend has it that the city was founded by either the mythical Hercules, or around 250 BC by the Carthaginian general Barcas (father of Hannibal).  The Romans fortified the town as a military camp in about 15 BC.  As the western Roman Empire collapsed, the Germanic Visigoths grew in strength and, by the fifth century, had conquerored most of Gaul (France) and Iberia (Spain) including Barcelona.  Three centuries later the dominance of the Visigoths had been replaced by the might of the Moors (North African people who were early converts to Islam).  But not for long - in 801, Louis, son of Emperor Charlamagne, reconquered the area and it became part of a buffer zone, known as the Spanish Marches (map), which separated the Iberian Peninsula, controlled by the Moors, from the Frankish Kingdom which extended across much of Western Europe (map).

By the middle of the 12th century, the Counts of Barcelona had expanded their territory to include all of Catalonia including the ancient kingdom of Aragon.  The territory known as the Crown of Aragon, with its center in Barcelona, reached its height in the 13th century having conquered Sicily, large chunks of Southern Italy and Athens in Greece.  Barcelona's power declined in the mid 15th century when Isabella of Castille married Ferdinand of Aragon which, after considerable infighting, eventually united the majority of Spain under one monarch.  Their daughter, Catherine of Aragon would later marry into the English House of Tudor (thus validating, in the eyes of European royalty, the rather dubious origins of the Tudor dynasty).  The subsequent annulment of their 24-year marriage by her husband, Henry VIII, led to England breaking away from the Catholic Church and a souring of relations between Spain and England which continued through various wars and a number of centuries.


Books you may know that are set in and around Barcelona

Interesting Links
BookBrowse member Margaret Ristagno lives in Barcelona, and recently blogged about one of Catalonia's most popular traditions - The Day of the Book:

This article was originally published in July 2009, and has been updated for the May 2010 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Circe
    Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Towards the end of Madeline Miller's novel Circe, the titular nymph is questioned by her son ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Names They Used for God
    All the Names They Used for God
    by Anjali Sachdeva
    Pre-publication press has already compared Anjali Sachdeva to Kelly Link and other genre-blending ...
  • Book Jacket: Look Alive Out There
    Look Alive Out There
    by Sloane Crosley
    After a brief (and thoroughly enjoyable) foray into fiction (with her 2015 novel The Clasp), Sloane ...
  • Book Jacket: Winter Sisters
    Winter Sisters
    by Robin Oliveira
    Winter Sisters begins with an epic blizzard (see Beyond the Book) hitting the entire Northeast of ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Other People's Houses
    by Abbi Waxman

    A hilarious and poignant novel about four families and the affair that changes everything.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.