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Terra Alta Books In Order

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Publication Order of Terra Alta Books

Even the Darkest Night (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Prey for the Shadow (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

The “Terra Alta” series is a set of novels by Javier Cercas is a mystery and literary fiction author from Spain. The author was born in the small Spanish town of Ibahernando in 1962 and got his doctorate in Spanish studies.
He worked at the University of Illinois as a Spanish literature professor and then moved on to the University of Girona. It was at the latter that he worked for many years, even as he penned his novel.

He published “Even the Darkest Night,” the debut novel of the “Terra Alta” series of novels in 2022 and has never looked back since.

But this was not his first rodeo as he had initially become a critically acclaimed author with the publishing of his debut work “Soldiers of Salamis,” a single-standing novel in 2003.

Over the years, he has had a lot of success in his home country of Spain and abroad as he had been praised by the likes of authors such as Susan Sontag, Maria Vargas Llosa, J.M. Coetzee, and George Steiner.

Given the success of his fiction works, he is now a full-time author with a leading role in literary fiction in Spain. He also takes a leading role in the political and cultural debates in Spain, where he likes to pen opinion articles in the press.

He regularly contributes to “El Pais,” the newspaper which has a very broad readership.

Over the years, Cercas has become an internationally acclaimed author as his work is a daring exploration of the lines that separate fiction from reality.

In fact, Javier Cercas has often described his works as real stories that explore the present and how it is connected to the past.

Javier Cercas’s novels have now been translated into at least 30 languages and have been nominated and won several international and national awards such as the Man Booker International Prize and the European Book Award.
“Terra Alta” his blockbuster work of fiction was the winner of the Planeta Prize in 2019 and Javier also won the Prix Andre Malraux in 2018.

The “Terra Alta” series of novels introduces Melchior, a man who had it very rough growing up. He had been the son of a prostitute who used to prowl the district close to the Barcelona football stadium.
His father was unknown and when he got older, he drifted into a life of crime and ultimately is arrested for being involved with drug gangs.

In prison, he gets introduced to books and reading and becomes obsessed with “Les Miserable,” the Victor Hugo classic. Over the course of the series, he returns again and again to the novel as he sees a lot of parallels in his life in the novel.
As fortune would have it, he soon discovers that he has a benefactor. The man is an attorney that was his defense counsel in court and who he believes is most likely his mother’s friend.

His life suddenly changes and he is no longer the common criminal he once was. Working with his new benefactor, he finally manages to get out of prison and then graduates to become a police officer in a region of Catalonia referred to as Terra Alta.

“Upper Land” is the first novel of the “Terra Alta” series of novels by Javier Cercas. The novel opens with the murder of a husband and wife team who are aging victims who are tortured to death.
Francesc Adell had been the owner of a successful printing house located in North Valencia that was usually referred to as the High Country.

It is a poor and rough land and the murdered Adells had been major employers in the region. While he had worked hard to make his money, his success means that he made a lot of enemies too.
Melchor Marin is the young detective charged with the murder investigation. He is a man with a checkered past who is eager to start a new life in the high country far away from Barcelona where he was brought up.
He meets a librarian named Olga, who loves books just as much as he does and she introduces him to Victor Hugo and his novel Les Miserables. He identifies with many of the characters in the novel and particularly Javert the inspector.
There is more in the investigation than meets the eye and the more Melchor digs the more he unearths.

The second novel of the “Terra Alta” series of novels is “Independencia,” in which Melchor Marin makes a comeback. He is back in Barcelona where he has been charged with investigating a glassy case.
The mayor of the city is the victim of a blackmail attempt over a sex tape. Melchor regrets that he was unable to track down the people that had murdered his mother.

With his rocky moral integrity and an inflexible sense of justice, Melchor needs to dismantle an extortion ring. It is not so clear if the group that has been involved in the extortion is seeking political destabilization or pure economic gain.
To tear apart the ring, he has to venture into the realm of power where corrupting brutality, unscrupulous ambition, and cynism reign with impunity.

This is a work that provides insight into the political and economic elites in Barcelona who govern the fate of the Catalans. It is an ode against the power and rich that is a political thriller rather than one based on law enforcement.

“Bluebeard’s Castle” the third novel of the “Terra Alta” series of novels is set several years following the events of Independencia. Melchor Marin is not a policeman anymore as he has become a librarian who now lives with his teenage daughter Cosette.

One day his daughter comes to know of the many things her father had hidden from her including the manner of death of her mother which leaves her upset and confused.

Shortly thereafter, Cosette leaves and heads to Majorca for a holiday. However, he does not return and Melchor’s calls and messages go unanswered. He is convinced that something has happened to his daughter and heads to the island to look for her.
From here, the work delves into a luminous and sinister labyrinth where Melchor learns the worst about human beings.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Terra Alta

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