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Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: Operation Napoleon by Arnaldur Indridason

Title: Operation Napoleon
Author: 
Arnaldur Indridason
Publisher: 
 
Minotaur Books
Publication Date: 
 September 27, 2011
Reviewer: Ethan

Summary (as quoted from Amazon): Prepare for sizzling action in a riveting stand alone thriller from Arnaldur Indridason, the award-winning author of the Inspector Erlunder series.
 Why is the US Army trying to secretively remove a plame from an Icelandic glacier, and why are they threatened by a young Icelandic rescue volunteer who manages to contact his sister Kristen before disappearing off the face of the earth? Kristin, who will not rest until she discovers the truth of her brother's fate, soon is in great danger herself, leading her on a long and hazardous journey in search of the key to the riddle about Operation Napoleon.
Flashback to 1945, when a German bomber flies over Iceland in a blizzard. The crew have lost their way and crash on a glacier. Puzzlingly, there are both Germand and American officers on board. One of the senior German officers claims that their best chance of survival is to try to walk to the nearest farm and sets off, a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist, only to disappear into the white vastness.
 Exceptional prose meets nonstop action in this spellbinding standalone by Arnaldur Indridason, who is critically acclaimed around the globe.  
Review: As the end of the second world war draws near, an American plane crashes into an Icelandic glacier. The U.S. Army sends a team of soldiers, lead by a captain whose brother was on the flight, to uncover the wreckage and search for survivors. Unfortunately, by the time the team arrives, the plane is buried by the ice and is invisible to those searching for it. As treaties are signed and the war officially ends, it seems that this may be one of the last tragedies of the war. 


Flash forward to the year 1999. Kristin is working in a legal office and dealing with disgruntled clients who are seemingly involved with the mob. Her brother, Elias, calls from a glacier where he is part of a team of seventy or so people involved with exploration and rescue. Kristin warns her brother to be carful and he, like any younger sibling, brushes off the warning as unnecessary. Kristen is startled when she receives a call from her brother a few days later. He tells her that he and a friend went out on snowmobiles when they spotted a plane. The call ends suddenly when mentions a group of soldiers. The events that follow, trust Kristin in the midst of a huge conspiracy that threatens the life of her, loved ones, and the future of US and Iceland national security. 



Author Arnaldur Indriðason layers his novel with interesting characters, all motivated by their own personal appetite to either destroy or reveal the secrets held in this buried plane. Action is the driving force of this novel, but Indriðason provides enough emotion in his characters to keep the story from becoming a purely plot driven book. There is also a great exploration of US/Iceland relationship on both a government and person to person level, that gives the story a striking element of realism. Without these touches of reality, the story may have seemed a bit over the top. Through his use of historical accuracy, emotional character connections, a thrilling plot, and an ending that left me reeling,  Arnaldur Indriðason has crafted an exciting story that I really enjoyed reading.

Ethan

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