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November 29, 2010 / Tracey

Review: The Library of Shadows – Mikkel Birkegaard

The Library of Shadows was written by Mikkel Birkegaard and translated from Danish into English by Tiina Nunnally.


The author has conceptualized people who have the ability to influence your thoughts and feelings through reading. This concept is highly original as far as I’m aware and I was gripped by the idea immediately.

Set in Copenhagen, Luca Campelli is the owner of an antiquarian bookshop containing many old and rare texts as well as new releases. He and his son Jon have been estranged for many years, until Luca’s sudden and unexpected death interrupts Jon’s career as a highly successful lawyer. After his funeral, Jon finds himself inheriting the bookshop and becoming curious about the secrets his Father kept from him.

Jon soon learns about the secret society of gifted bibliophiles who possess powers as either transmitters or receivers. This subtle supernatural theme continues throughout the novel, as Birkegaard attributes these society members with the ability to influence, manipulate and brainwash people with their powers.

This is an exciting read and you’ll find mystery, intrigue, action and danger along the way. I feel compelled to add that the translation contains several flaws which disrupted the natural pace of the novel. The romance between Jon and a supporting character was ridiculous, and the seduction scene in the shower was laughable and completely unrealistic – making me shout “as if” out loud while I was reading.

However; connections in the book to the great Library in Alexandria were absolutely tantalising and I thoroughly enjoyed these snippets. All in all, The Library of Shadows is a book with a great deal of promise, however in my opinion it failed to live up to its potential.

My rating = ***

That’s my four bucks!
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