Summary: On the day Vango is prepared to take vows to become a priest men show up with the intention to kill him. He's been framed for murder and must go on the run. But there are other men after him, men who want to kill him because of his mysterious and unknown past.
I wanted a good book. I wanted one I could just read and love and be sad when it ended. This book met all of those requirements, and I ended up hating it as much as I loved it because it had to end and it left me wishing all books could be this good.
I thought the book would be something set in an alternate universe. Something like Sky Captain. I was wrong. Written in a different language and translated to English, the book takes place mostly in 1936, at the very start of WWII. While the story mainly is Vango's there are a lot of other plot lines and many other characters. At first I felt a little overwhelmed by everyone, but each character was so fascinating I didn't mind the time with them. And then when they're lives came together it stunned me and made me love the book even more.
Vango himself is one of the best characters I've had the chance to meet. He is mysterious and yet has a childishness openness about him. He keeps to himself but everyone seems to know him though they know nothing about him. This is partly because he knows nothing about himself. He knows his name, he knows where he spent his boyhood, but his whole past is a secret. His life seems to have started at the young age of two or three when he and his nanny washed up on an island. (His nanny claims to have no memory of their past.) (I have a feeling if Tintin were in a book and not a comic book he'd be a lot like Vango, which might be another reason I love Vango so much.)
Vango is a very sweet character. He's the sort everyone he meets instantly likes...okay, not everyone I suppose because he has hit men out to kill him. But everyone else loves him. And yet, hidden deep down within him is a dangerous side. When it came out I might have shamefully swooned a little. What can I say? He's fabulous.
There was so much more to like about this book as well. The writing style which pulled me in, the winding paths which twisted and turned and wove these lives together. Eckner, the Cat, Ethel (and her amazing car she raced everywhere), Paul - some of Vango's many friends. The way the story clutched at my heart and at times ripped it out, and then at others had me laughing.And it had Zeppelins. I don't think there is more I could ask for out of a book.
Then of course, the ending. It had the ending one could expect out of a book like this. (And by that you have to read it to find out.) Thankfully there is a book two, and even better my dear friend loaned it to me so that I wouldn't be left in agony and pain and possibly tears.
The book did have some language in it, but besides that was very clean. Just read it, it is well worth it. And make sure you have book two on hand. You'll need it.