Publisher: Veröld, Iceland
US (William Morrow / HarperCollins)
Spain (Santillana – Suma)
Holland (De Fontein)
Italy (Sperling & Kupfer – Mondadori)
Czech Republic (Metafora)
Israel – Hebrew (Kinneret Zmora Dvir)Romania (Humanitas)
Portugal (Difel / Gotica)
Taiwan (China Times)
Turkey (Koridor Yayinlari)
Serbia (Leo commerce)
Complete English translation is available
A strange sign on a body of a German student who is found murdered in Reykjavik in November 2005. A desperate quest for an ancient letter and an infamous manuscript from the middle ages. The witch-hunts in Iceland during the dark ages. And the lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir is drawn into a world she didn't even know existed.
The badly mutilated body of a young German student, who had been studying Icelandic history in Reykjavik, is discovered in Iceland. The man had been brutally murdered. The police soon make an arrest in the case, a drug addict that admits to having sold drugs to the student but maintains his innocence with regards to the murder.
The murdered student comes from a wealthy family and his German relatives are not certain that the police have done an adequate job. They employ Thóra, an Icelandic attorney to conduct her own investigation, which she reluctantly accepts. The price is right – however there is a snag, namely that Thóra must work alongside Matthew Reich, a former German policeman employed by the family and not exactly Thóra’s cup of tea. She is easygoing and carefree; his mentality regimental and stiff. Tempted by the money offered Thóra does however take on the investigation.
Their independent investigation reveals that the murdered student had gathered substantial information regarding ancient documents and secret rituals and that he was a member of a mysterious, small group of Icelanders fascinated with historical events related to torture and execution. In addition, the student had withdrawn a lot of money from a fund in his name and was about to purchase a witchcraft artifact. The investigation reveals also some quite ugly things from the student’s past life in Germany.
Thóra and Matthew soon become caught up in an investigation that leads them from Reykjavik of modern times to the far away northwest coast, infamous in Icelandic history for its witch-hunts during the dark ages, where – unlike other European nations – men were mainly burned for witchcraft instead of women. Who wanted this German student dead? And what connection does this tragedy have to horrible events that took place ages ago?
Here the award winning author, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, debuts as a crime writer. The critics say that Last Rituals is “unputdownable”, “an accomplished crime novel”, “cleverly written” and with “a charming protagonist”. When published in Iceland in November 2005, Last Rituals was a runaway success and it has been on the best-seller lists ever since – and is already sold in 30 languages.
[Thora] is a refreshing alternative to the depressice police officers in Scandinavian crime novels." dpa, GERMANY
"A promising debut ... it’s breathtaking – the plot is so gripping that it grabs the reader and won’t let go of him … a very satisfying crime debut.” Dagbladet, NORWAY
“[Yrsa’s] style is effortless and she gives the crime story a warm undertone. The contrast between the rhythm of everyday life on the one hand and the killing, torture and black magic on the other is convincing.” Fredriksstad Newspaper, NORWAY
“Thrilling, funny and a modern story about black magic
and witchcraft. ... A charming Icelandic crime novel.”
Politiken newspaper, DENMARK
“An exciting murder story by a new queen of crime fiction.”
Allas weekly, SWEDEN
“Smart” Dagbladet newspaper, SWEDEN
“Entertaining” Amelia magazine, SWEDEN
“Cleverly written, Thóra is a charming protagonist, the mystery exciting and very well crafted.” - Morgunbladid newspaper
“An accomplished crime novel where everything has been thought through.”
- DV newspaper
“A fresh voice, fast paced and the style is volcanic.” - Katrin Jakobsdottir, literary scholar