The Fountains of Silence


Madrid, 1957. Under the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is living in silence. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into the country under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos and more.


Educational Resources for The Fountains of Silence

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Praise for The Fountains of Silence

The New York Times

“Spain under Francisco Franco is as dystopian a setting as Margaret Atwood’s Gilead in Ruta Sepetys’s suspenseful, romantic and timely new work of historical fiction. The Fountains of Silence speaks truth to power, persuading future rulers to avoid repeating the crimes of the past.”


“Full of both beauty and terror. The Fountains of Silence may be about things that went unsaid for decades, but it speaks its truth loud and clear.”

Kirkus (Starred Review)

“Meticulous research is presented through believable, complex characters on the brink of adulthood who personalize the questions we all must answer about our place in the world.
A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience.”

The Wall Street Journal 

“Gripping. Full of twists and revelations. Ruta Sepetys is the finest writer of historical fiction working today.”

Entertainment Weekly

“A staggering tale of love, loss, and national shame… Sepetys triumphs with this towering work of historical insight, somehow managing to both devastate and give you faith in the expansive generosity of the human spirit.”

The Harvard Crimson

“A masterwork of historical fiction. Sepetys is the matador, the reader is the bull, and each time one attempts to close the book, a new piece of information flashes before you like a blood red cape, and you take off running.”

Author Video

Discussion Resources

The Fountains of Silence Discussion Guide on iPad

The Fountains of Silence Book Club Guide

With one-of-a-kind photos, 16 discussion questions, exclusive bonus content, and even book-inspired recipes this media-rich guide is the perfect companion for you and your book club.

The Fountains of Silence Discussion Guide

Discussion guide for book clubs and classrooms created by the Penguin Random House School and Library department.

Interview with Ruta Sepetys

Ruta discusses The Fountains of Silence, her writing process, and her thoughts on hidden history in “Breaking the Silence,” an interview for the ALA Intellectual Freedom Blog.

The Silence of Others

The Silence of Others

Now streaming on Netflix, The Silence of Others is an award-winning documentary by Almudena Carracedo & Robert Bahar that chronicles the incredible human struggle during and after
the Franco dictatorship in Spain. The film addresses the history, the impact of the ‘Pact of Forgetting,’ and issues of transitional justice.


by Carlos Giménez

Paracuellos has been described as a work of great courage and perhaps the most important graphic memoir ever conceived in comics. Created at a time when telling the truth about Spain’s political past could result in death, Carlos Giménez’s autobiographical account of the plight of children in post-World War II Fascist Spain has won virtually every comics award in Europe. This graphic memoir provided inspiration for the characters of Rafa and Fuga in The Fountains of Silence.

Franco: A Biography

by Paul Preston

Considered the definitive biography of Francisco Franco. Over 1,000 pages written by Sir Paul Preston, award-winning Hispanist and historian specializing in Spanish history.