Good Reads: The Trilogy of Baztán by Dolores Redondo
By Fátima Serra
Each year, the PLANETA Publishing Company in Spain awards the second largest literary prize in the world—only the Swedish Academy Nobel Prize is larger in dollar amount— to a novel that they consider both to demonstrate literary value and crowd-pleasing quality. The winner for the 2016 award was Dolores Redondo, whose book is titled Todo esto te daré (‘All this I will give you’).
It is not surprising that PLANETA gave Redondo the award, for their ultimate goal is always to sell books and this year’s winner had tremendous success with her previous work the Baztán Trilogy, published in 2013 and 2014, whose titles were The Invisible Guardian, Legacy of the Bones, and Offer to the Storm.
The trilogy has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and has been translated into 32 languages. The first two titles of the trilogy are already available in English, and the third one will be ready in March 2017. March 2017 is also the date for the movie release of the first volume, The Invisible Guardian, which is being produced by the same producers who took Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy to film.
In this terrific literary work, the reader becomes immersed in the Basque Pyrenees Mountains of Navarre (Spain), land of mysterious forests, mythology, and witches. The detective Amaia Salazar is smart, young and the highest ranked police official in the region. She is in charge of solving violent crimes against women in the valley where she grew up. The return to her childhood home makes her confront ghosts from the past.
The beauty of the trilogy is its hybrid nature. It is a detective novel, fantastic literature and a memoir. As Amaia Salazar and her team slowly uncover the clues to solve the crimes, the reader gains insight into her personal plights to be a professional woman, a mother, a wife and a contributor to a world of inclusion. We also learn of the traditions of the Baztán Valley and the life of yesteryear in the area. To top it all, the thrilling suspense of the plot makes the books “unputdownable.” The following is a summary of the first volume’s plot:
The naked body of a teenage girl is found on the banks of the River Baztán. Less than twenty-four hours after this discovery, a link is made to the murder of another girl the month before. Is this the work of a ritualistic killer or of the Invisible Guardian, the Basajaun, a creature of Basque mythology? Thirty-year-old Inspector Amaia Salazar heads an investigation that will take her back to Elizondo, a place of mists, rain and forests. A place of unresolved conflicts, of a dark secret that scarred her childhood and which will come back to torment her. Torn between the rational, procedural part of her job and local myths and superstitions, Salazar has to fight off the demons of her past in order to confront the reality of a serial killer at loose in a region steeped in the history of the Spanish Inquisition.
For the SSU community, it will be easy to imagine the forests, the mountains, the green, the rain and the strong women, and maybe even the witches.