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Publisher's Summary

In the wake of an earthquake, the water level of an Icelandic lake drops suddenly, revealing the skeleton of a man half-buried in its sandy bed. It is clear immediately that it has been there for many years. There is a large hole in the skull. Yet more mysteriously, a heavy communication device is attached to it, possibly some sort of radio transmitter, bearing inscriptions in Russian. The police are called in and Erlendur, Elinborg, and Sigurdur Olii begin their investigation, which gradually leads them back to the time of the Cold War when bright, left-wing students would be sent from Iceland to study in the "heavenly state" of communist East Germany.

©2004 Arnaldur Indridason (P)2013 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A delightfully dark and twisted story

This series is just fantastic. The characters are rich and the crimes are fascinating. I enjoyed every minute.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

History over mystery?

An earlier reviewer noted "too much history." That may have been true for her, and this may be why: the story is centered on characters who left Iceland in the fifties to study at the U of Leipzig in East (Communist) Germany. One of the characters is an outspoken Hungarian woman in the time before the Hungarian uprising of 1956. If this isn't a topic that fascinates you (as it does me), then you too will find that it's too much history. I found the book intriguing, but that's because I like this kind of interweaving of history and mystery.
If you do too, then you'll also like Adrian McKinty's Northern Irish mysteries--starting with The Cold, Cold Ground. Before I end, I greatly appreciate George Guidall's narration. I don't speak Icelandic but he certainly pronounces the Icelandic names with confidence and authority, so I hope he's correct as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Glad I stayed with it.

I agree with the others that said the unfamiliar names & the jumping back & forth in the past & present was difficult to follow, but I'm glad I stayed with it.
I also enjoyed the history lesson.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Far Too Much History

This book went back and forth between the present mystery of a skeleton in a drained lake, and East Germany's communism. Iceland is the focus of a communist spy supposedly selling farm equipment fifty years ago. How he became that spy is told along with the history of Icelandic students being educated in Germany and exposed to communist propaganda. The story was just that that interesting. Not much of a mystery. The whole book could have been at least an hour shorter. Not one of my favorites.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ruth
  • North Branch, MN, United States
  • 05-19-15

Thank goodness for hydrologists!

I was really looking forward to this book. While it was very good, well performed, and interesting historically, I was hoping for more of a geology connection.

Another great read! Thank you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good Read

The most engaging book I have EVER istened to...enjoy. This author must be enjoyed by all.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This Author's Writing Matures With Each Book

I am captivated by the complex themes, situations and characters this author creates so successfully.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just When You Thought . . . .

you had it all figured out, the final twist of fate is revealed.

I have very much enjoyed the Erlendur mysteries and this one did not disappoint in the least. My only problem is I am running out of books.