Sunday, March 2, 2008

Last Rituals

Last Rituals: An Icelandic Novel of Secret Symbols, Medieval Witchcraft, and Modern Murder by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (2007)

Description: After the body of a young German student - with his eyes cut out and strange symbols carved into his chest - is discovered at a university in Reykjavik, the police waste no time in making an arrest. The victim's family isn't convinced they have the right man, however, so they ask Thora Gudmundsdottir, attorney and single mother of two, to investigate. The fee is considerable - more than enough to make things a bit easier for the struggling lawyer and her children.

Its not long before Thora and Matthew Reich, her new associate, discover something unusual about the deceased student: He had been obsessed with the country's grisly history of torture, execution, and witch hunt - a topic made all the more peculiar by the fact that unlike witch hunts in other countries, those in Iceland had targeted men.. not women.

As Thora and Matthew dig deeper, they make the connections between long-bygone customs and the student's murder. But the shadow of dark traditions an conceals secrets in both the past and the present, and the investigators soon realize that nothing is as it seems... and that no one can be trusted.

Review: This is an English translation of a first novel by Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurdardottir. A most interesting mystery that involves secret soticeties, symbols, witchcraft, and family secrets. If you are a fan of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code you will most definitely be interested in this new author. Sigurdardottir makes characters who we care about and a most interesting mystery that one cannot guess right away. I am most interested to see where she goes with her next installment in this series.

Score: 4 out of 5

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