With Sweden these days seemingly leading the way with best selling mystery authors, this time I thought I'd try an Icelandic international author, Arnaldur Indriðason
. He has 10 out of 12 from his "Detective Erlendu
r" crime-novel series now translated into English. He has sold over 7 million copies. Operation Napoleon
is one of his stand-alone mystery novels that was written in 1999 and recently translated into English.
The story jumps back and forth betwixt Iceland, 1945 and the Pentagon, 1999. Several high ranking World War II officers -- some German, some American -- crash-land on a glacier during a horrific snowstorm. One of the German officers sets out in the attempt to reach a farmhouse. With him is a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. The other passengers are left to fend for themselves in the destroyed remains of their aircraft. Where was the final destination of this mixed-crew and what was being transported in the cargo plane and locked in the briefcase?
We discover that our government has secretly been trying to find the remains of the plane for over 50 years. When satellite pictures show the glacier spitting-up the partial plane, a creepy crew of clandestine soldiers are sent to procure the remains and destroy all evidence of the event. An Icelandic man, Elias, unfortunately witnesses the beginning of the extraction and contacts his sister, Kristin, before he disappears. This sets off the thrilling chain of events that follows. It's a race between good and evil to uncover the truth or to eliminate it completely.
This race is "a never-ending battle for truth and justice
" and according to the author, hopefully the un-American way. Written from the point-of-view of an Icelandic national narrative, the good old USA government comes across as anything but flattering. America is viewed as a bullying nation that will go to any lengths to cover their tracks. This book, at first shocking, ends up quite a refreshing read. In our country where "wagging of the dog" is standard political practice, it's novel to get a different perspective of just how America has positioned itself as the leading world power.