A brilliantly written and gripping historical Nordic noir thriller with all the intrigue and atmosphere of Burial Rites, the pent-up passion of The Piano, and the suspense of The Tenderness of Wolves.
There are six homesteads on Blackåsen Mountain. A day's journey away lies the empty town. It comes to life just once, in winter, when the church summons her people through the snows. Then even the oldest enemies will gather.
But now it is summer, and new settlers are come. It is their two young daughters who find the dead man not half an hour's walk from their cottage. The father is away. And whether stubborn or stupid or scared for her girls, the mother will not let it rest.
To the wife who is not concerned when her husband does not come home for three days to the man who laughs when he hears his brother is dead to the priest who doesn't care, she asks and asks her questions, digging at the secrets of the mountain. They say a wolf made those wounds. But what wild animal cuts a body so clean?
"Like a silent fall of snow; suddenly, the reader is enveloped...visually acute, skilfully written; it won't easily erase its tracks in the reader's mind." (Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies)
"Exquisitely suspenseful, beautifully written, and highly recommended" (Lee Child, number-one best-selling author of the Jack Reacher thrillers)
"The most brilliantly, dark, eerie, intriguing tale I've ever read. Think The Killing and then square it." (Ruby Wax)
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Atmospheric novel with beautiful imagery
Interesting and Unusual
The time and the setting, Swedish Lapland, 1717.Mostly I enjoyed the writing style. Never saying too much, but always enough.Also the gritty unsentimentality of the characters.
A murder is at the centre of this novel, but far more interesting is reading about the survival techniques of rural settlers through the winter in very rural Sweden.The magic and mystery that isolation brings, and the relationships of these people to the church.
No. I thought her reading was one dimensional, flat and dull. The baby voices she gave to the children, and even an adult was irritating. All the men sounded the same, imperious and hard, and the women were much the same. Fortunately the strength of the story takes over and does the work for you.
A good and satisfying read.
- holly bird