Betrayal

Betrayal
Translator: 
Year: 
2020
Publisher: 
Place: 
London
Author of Review: 

Betrayal

(Svik, 2018)

In her first book after closing her Reykjavík Noir Trilogy, Lilja Sigurðardóttir tries her hand at a new form: The political thriller. In her signature multi-perspective prose, the book follows a handful of characters that initially seem unconnected until their separate stories are threaded together into a tightly wound plot.

Struggling with the mundane realities of everyday Icelandic life after her experiences working in war-torn countries and refugee camps, former UN peacekeeper Úrsúla is presented with a new and exciting opportunity to make a change in the world. After a shift in government, she finds herself thrust into the spotlight when she accepts the role of minister of the interior. However, she soon discovers that the game of politics has many hidden players, some of whom view her as a mere pawn in their schemes. Not one to be intimidated, she is still forced to accept the assistance of her driver-cum-bodyguard, Gunnar, when she starts receiving death threats and gruesome online messages. Meanwhile, the story follows several other seemingly unconnected characters: a young cleaning lady who knows the ins and outs of Icelandic rune magic and spell casting, a housewife whose husband, a policeman, has been accused of rape, and a vagrant who wanders around Reykjavík in a state of drunken delusion and seems to harbour a dark secret from Úrsúla’s past, causing him to fear for her life at the hands of someone whom he simply refers to as “the devil”.

Betrayal is a stand-alone novel within Lilja’s world of interconnected crime thrillers. Readers versed in Lilja’s previous books may find a few familiar faces among the cast of characters, but Betrayal is also a perfect starting point for new readers wanting to try out Lilja’s particular brand of crime fiction.