Last Rituals

by

Author: Sigurdardottir, Yrsa

Title: Last Rituals: a Novel of Suspense

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 314

Geographical Setting: Reykjavik, Iceland

Time Period: 2000’s

Series: A Soul To Take: a Novel of Iceland- second novel after Last Rituals about the lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir who becomes a private investigator.

Plot Summary: The author was named by the English Telegraph: “Iceland’s answer to Stieg Larsson,” and it is undeniably one of the best books about witchcraft and crime set in 21st century. Harold is a wealthy German exchange student living in Iceland. Obsessed with witch hunting, torture, Medieval and Renaissance spells and exorcisms, he is brutally murdered while working on his master’s thesis. The macabre scenes and occultism of circumstances of the murder are the reason for a deeper private investigation. The main character Thora, the young, divorced mother of two, struggling with financial crisis, decides to take over the case encouraged by the money proposed by the German student’s family. The intelligent, witty, and very sympathetic woman takes an offer determined to uncover the murder behind shadowy Icelandic history, together with her new, handsome and sophisticated German colleague, sent by the family of dead student. The romance, in spite of the story plot – the humor, reality of modern Iceland, sufficiently researched and shocking history of sorcery and inquisition in the Nordic country- makes it an intriguing read you don’t want to end.

Subject Headings: Murder Investigation, Occultism, Witchcraft, Women Lawyers, Scandinavia, Nordic Noir, Reykyavik, Iceland.

Appeal: atmospheric and provoking; Iceland’s dark medieval past; spells; brutality; sorcery; shocking action-oriented storyline; modern murder history; compelling; realistic characters; multilayered plot; contemporary Iceland; perfectly paced narrative.

Three Terms for Book: sharp and penetrating suspense novel, evocative and compelling Icelandic past, and chilling page-turner.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

  1. Indridason,      Arnaldur, Jar City – The Reykjavik detective      uncovers the unsolved mystery from forty years ago with modern techniques      in criminology and genetics. Suspenseful, intelligent, compelling, and      well paced mystery fiction. The 2002 Nordic Crime Novel Award.
  2. Lackberg,      Camilla, The Ice Princess – This      chilly and character driven mystery fiction from Sweden is the first of two      volumes about solving the serial crimes by Erica, who is a writer and her      future husband, Swedish policeman. Dark, psychological portrays and      descriptive insights of the characters. Another great translation after      Stieg Larsson novels by Henning Mankell.
  3. Larsson,      Asa, – Until the Wrath Be Past – Fast      paced, Suspenseful, Swedish Fiction. Remarkable story about the human      desires and its consequences. Two women, the inspector and the prosecutor      are going back in time to the small Swedish village during the WWII to      unsolved complex mystery. Super natural elements are in consequence      original and engrossing.

Relevant Nonfiction Works and Authors:

  1. Brown,      Nancy Marie, The Far Traveler:      Voyages of a Viking WomanAdventure      and History Nonfiction piece of writing about the Viking saga heroine.      With the support of technological innovations in modern archeological      world, the author discovers truths from the past worthy of a historical      novel award.
  2. Gaskill,      Malcolm, Witchcraft – a Very Short      Introduction – The history of witch hunting, paganism, and Goddess      religion are only further encouragement to discover this surprisingly and      striking piece of the past, which still nowadays is a world-wide      phenomenon.
  3.   Holm,      Bill, The Windows of Brimnes-an      American in Iceland – author and the American essayist, explores the      Icelandic ancestors in his hometown in Minnesota, later on to travel and      live in little cottage in northern Iceland. Descriptive, sharp and      provocative essays about life in America      and Iceland.

 

 

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