Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Úrsula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.
But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And the death of her father in police custody so many years ago rears its head once again.
As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witch-like cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones, and the stakes are raised ever higher…
The award-winning internationally bestselling author Lilja Sigurðardóttir returns with Betrayal, a relevant, powerful, fast-paced thriller about the worlds of politics, police corruption and misogyny that feels just a little bit too real…
Betrayal is translated by Quentin Bates
Who would have thought that this kind of thing would go on in Iceland? To us here in the UK it’s a country full of ice and snow where we go to see the Northern Lights and pay a fortune for a glass of wine. But it seems that politics there are as corrupt as anywhere else in the world.
Betrayal is a great story, full of lies and intrigue and dirty politics, with the Media prepared to go to any lengths to uncover gossip that will bring down the Ministry, including newly appointed Úrsula.
I’m torn about the character of Úrsula. I understand the things she has done as an aid worker, her desire to help the vulnerable and her ambition to change things in Iceland. But she has two children and a husband at home. I could never have left mine and put them at risk. But that’s just me (maybe I’m not the feminist I think I am). And sometimes her naivety in the job got on my nerves a bit.
However, I really like Stella. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s to do with the spells and the superstitions which have always fascinated me. It gives this novel a touch of magical realism, which is probably my favourite genre, separating it from other crime novels. Stella’s grandmother appearing, the runes and the invisibility spell – I was never sure what was real and what was her imagination.
And I like Gunnar. He’s a real hero, ready to put himself in danger to protect Úrsula and her family. Like The Bodyguard without the sex (spoiler alert). I imagine him looking like Dolph Lundgren (about 25 years ago).
Each of the characters has his or her own thread which seem to cross paths at times, but how are they all connected and will they finally come together? What could possible connect Stella, who is simply a cleaner at the ministry, scheming journalist Thorbjorn, newsreader Greta, a homeless man and a policeman accused of rape in another town. Betrayal is intricately woven and sometimes you have to really concentrate to know what’s going on, but I enjoyed every minute.
Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours
About the Author
Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare, Trap and Cage, making up the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.