An Icelandic-American cop, exiled to his homeland, finds himself caught in a centuries-old web of murder, power grabs and the One True Ring.
The arrest of his ex-partner, Det. Sean Lenahan, on corruption charges makes Boston a little too hot for Sgt. Det. Magnus Jonson. His boss, hoping to get Lenahan to role over on Dominican trafficker Pedro Soto, wants Magnus kept safe until he can testify. That means getting him out of the country—in this case, sending him back to the land of his birth, where he’s seconded to the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police CID just in time to partner with Det. Árni Holm in the case of Agnar Haraldsson, clubbed to death and dumped into the icy waters. Who would kill a middle-aged professor of Icelandic? Inspector Baldur Jakobsson plumps for Yorkshire truck driver Steve Jubb, who under the pseudonym Gimli was determined to get his hands on a copy of Gaukur’s Saga, a long-hidden manuscript Agnar had recently translated. What makes this particular saga so attractive is not only the important addition it makes to the corpus of Icelandic sagas but its apparent status as catalyst for the plot of Lord of the Rings. As Pedro Soto patiently follows leads in Boston that will bring him closer and closer to the witness he must silence, Magnus, digging deeper into the family background of gallery owner Ingileif Ásgrímsdóttir, Agnar’s former student and former lover, finds that the lusts for sex, wealth and power that inspired the sagas of 1,000 years ago are still very much alive.
This series debut from Ridpath (Trading Reality, 1997, etc.) combines long-winded exposition, humdrum detection, fascinating echoes of Tolkien and Njal’s Saga and acute observations about the distinctive culture of Iceland.