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Vidar Sundstol Books In Order

Publication Order of Minnesota Trilogy Books

The Land of Dreams (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Only the Dead (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Ravens (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Devil's Wedding Ring (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Vidar Sundstol is a Norwegian author of thrillers, crime, and mystery novels famously known for his books in Minnesota Trilogy. Born in 1963, Sundstol spent his childhood in Drangedal Municipality in Telemark County. In 987, Sundstol attended Writers College based in Bo. In 2005, Sundstol’s debut novel Kommandolinjer was published. Subsequently, in 2008, Drømmenes land, the first book in Minnesota Trilogy was published. Drømmenes land, the first title in Minnesota trilogy won Riverton Prize under the category, Best Norwegian Crime Fiction.

The Land Of Dreams

Land of Dreams is the first novel in Minnesota Trilogy set on Lake Superior and in the rural towns and thick forests. The book introduces Lance Hansen, a Forest Service officer based in Florida. He is a man deeply consumed by his burning desires for the history and genealogy of the locals. His quiet life takes a twisted turn the day he crosses path with the body of a brutally murdered Norwegian tourist.

Not far from the dead man is another Norwegian man covered in blood, shocked and the only word that he only says is, Love.

The case gets assigned to Bob Lecuyer, an FBI operative and is paired with a Norwegian agent, Eirik Nyland. Once the investigation is up and running, Lance soon comes to make shocking discoveries- one that involves the murder of an Ojibwe man at the exact crime scene some hundred years ago. As detective Lance digs deeper into the two deaths that happened centuries apart, he soon discovers that the killer could be someone closer than he least expected.

The Land of Dreams is an opener in a brilliant trilogy from one of the best Norwegian crime writers- it is a vivid description of the fantastic landscape, explorations of hidden traumas, paths of silence that could make a change in history, strong bonds of blood and a haunting study in guilt.

The story is more of a psychological study of how a person’s past and relationships could impact one’s present life. There are vivid descriptions of the ancient rivers, forests, and above all Lake Superior itself. The novels also give the readers a sense of history, overall the relationship that exists between the American-Norwegian community and even the native Ojibway. The first title could be carefully compared to Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson’s and also John Sandford’s thrillers set in Minnesota. The characters are beautifully written, for instance, the main character; Lance Hansen is described a loner. His wife left him and took their kid, now with no family to cater for; he spends most of his time investigating the region’s historical archives.

The author makes a wonderful of the setting as well as the history of the area itself-also including Native American History. On the one hand, he makes use of Nyland to undertake the murder investigation and on the other hand, uses Hansen, to give the readers a glimpse of the local history as he starts looking into a similar crime that happened a century ago.

The Devil’s Wedding Ring

In 1985 on Midsummer Eve, folklore researcher vanishes from the village of Eidsborg, Telemark County, Norway. Three decades later, a student Cecilie Wiborg also disappears under mysterious circumstances. Cecilie too had been researching about the ancient pagan rituals linked with the thirteenth-century Eidsborg stave church. Not long, Knut Abrahamsen, a retired police officer from the same locality is found drowned in a nearby river, and his death is presumed suicide as stones were found in his pockets.

Upon learning of the death of his former colleague and a good friend, private detective Max Fjellanger is compelled to leave his longtime foreign home in Florida and head back to his native home in Norway to attend his friend’s funeral. Even though these two good friends had not exchanged a word for more than thirty years, Max is not entirely convinced that his friend committed suicide but suspects foul play in place. Some details about his death do not just add up and upon further investigations. Max discovers that there is a link between his deceased friend and the missing folklore researcher- whom Max had worked with- until cold threats from a corrupt sheriff put an end to both the investigation and Max’s career as a police officer.

However, this time Max is determined to shedding some limelight and finding out the truth. His investigations see him drawn into a dark realm in which ancient religious cults, superstitions, and sinister forces are at work, with the stave church (Saint Nikuls) being the center stage of it all.

Max finds one unlikely partner, Tirill Vesterli- a campus librarian & a single mom obsessed with crime novels. The pair gets plunged into a menacing realm of severed pig heads, ghostly monks and mythic rites all which are loosely connected to Midsummer Eve, an event around the corner.

The Devil’s Wedding Ring features every requirement of an investigative crime story. Sundstol writing is precise, and the story feeds the readers the exact bits of info required to make one want to solve the whole mystery. Every detail is there for a reason, and this makes one doubt everyone and everything at some point. The characters are brilliant, they are compelling and like any other characters in crime investigative stories, and they all have their flaws thus making them more relatable.

For instance, Max the main character in the story is a widowed man. The weight of his cowardice heavily sits on him after he allowed himself to be threatened by the local sheriff three decades ago. There is Tirill, young single mother and also an avid crime lover who is often disparaged by the cops whenever she tries to provide her theory about what could have possibly happened. She is also the main highlight of this novel; she is intuitive, whip-smart and poses a mixture of quirky and practical personalities. Max and Tirill make an excellent combination, and each is playing to each other’s strengths.

One of the main fortes of this narrative is the use of real Nordic myths and real places that genesis into the ancient pagan rites- the gods and goddesses of fertility and sacrificial ceremonies that pagans performed to gain favors.

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