The Baztan Trilogy (1) – The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo

the Invisible GuardianThe Invisible Guardian is an intriguing story, a murder mystery in which a serial killer stalks the Basque country valley killing young girls and arranging their bodies to leave a message.  The book has strong family characterisation, it’s more than just a murder mystery and although it did take me a little while to become fully absorbed once I was hooked there was no putting it down.

The story gets off to a fairly gripping start when the body of a young girl is found. Inspector Amaia Salazar is put in charge of the investigation and not more than 24 hours later has made a link to another similar murder that took place less than a month earlier.  It seems that a serial killer is on the loose and Inspector Salazar needs to return to her roots to try and solve the case and prevent any more deaths.

Amaia was born and raised in the small village of Elizondo.  It’s not a place she wishes to return to having put her own haunted childhood behind her.  She now lives outside of the realms of this superstitious place where the people still believe in myths and folklore.  Myths made that much stronger by the misty forest that sits on the outskirts of the village.  In returning to her old home Amaia will have to confront her own family and deal with the emotional trauma of her past, she will have the stress of a murder investigation and on top of that she will once again awaken to the mythological creatures that roam the forest.

What I particularly enjoyed about this story is that it isn’t simply a murder investigation.  The small superstitious village of Elizondo is steeped in folklore, people believe very strongly in evil and witches, tarot cards are consulted on a regular basis and a trip into the forest can lead to strange encounters in more than one form.

I thought the fact that Amaia has such an emotional history that is awakened and explored when she returns is also a fascinating aspect to the story.

In terms of characterisation.  Amaia is very well drawn and I liked her.  She’s had a tough childhood but has managed to escape her demons.  Plus, she’s a clever cookie and not afraid to go digging around.  The other characters were not quite as well drawn but still play a good part in the story and lend fairly strong support.

I understand that The Invisible Guardians has been a bestseller in Spain and I can understand why.  It’s been very well translated and is an intriguing read.

If you’re looking for a murder mystery with something a little more, some deeper family history thrown into the mix and a mythological guardian of the forest then give this a go.  If fantasy is something you only like to lightly dabble in then this could fit the bill perfectly so don’t be put off by the folklore and mythological aspects.

I would like to thank the publishers for the opportunity to review this book.  The above is my own opinion.


10 Responses to “The Baztan Trilogy (1) – The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo”

  1. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    glad to hear the translation was well done, its always sad when it doesn’t do the book justice. Sound like an interesting read 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was good, there was a short spell where it felt a little slow but then it became very intriguing indeed.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I didn’t know about this book, and certainly had no idea that it was translated from its original language. It’s great you had a good time with it, it sounds eerie, and even looks like it from the cover. That image is beautiful, until you notice the girl in the lower corner, and then it’s a punch in the gut.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I know, before I picked it up I did wonder if this would be strictly all about the murder mystery and police procedure but it’s not all about that. There’s the family skeletons in the closet, the serial killer and the whole folklore side of things. I thought it was well done and the translation was good.
      Lynn 😀

  3. jessicabookworm

    You’re the second person I’ve seen review this – I hadn’t heard of this before. It does sound intriguing though.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really enjoyed it – I wondered if it would all boil down to police procedure or whether it would be a good translation but there was no need to worry about either.
      Lynn 😀

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    It sounds like something out of an old “Outer Limits” episode, and that’s what makes this book intriguing. Also, it would be interesting to explore a new branch of folklore and myth.

  5. January: My Month in Review | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo […]

  6. Out of the comfort zone… | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo.A killer at large in a remote Basque Country valley, a detective to rival Clarice Starling, myth versus reality, masterful storytelling – the Spanish bestseller that has taken Europe by storm.The naked body of a teenage girl is found on the banks of the River Baztán. Less than 24 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?30-year-old Inspector Amaia Salazar heads an investigation which will take her back to Elizondo, the village in the heart of Basque country where she was born, and to which she had hoped never to return. 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, Amaia 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. […]

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