In this breathtakingly bold, intricately constructed novel set in 18th century Stockholm, a dying man searches among the city’s teeming streets, dark corners, and intriguing inhabitants to unmask a ruthless murderer—perfect for fans of Perfume and The Alienist.
It is 1793. Four years after the storming of the Bastille in France and more than a year after the death of King Gustav III of Sweden, paranoia and whispered conspiracies are Stockholm’s daily bread. A promise of violence crackles in the air as ordinary citizens feel increasingly vulnerable to the whims of those in power.
When Mickel Cardell, a crippled ex-solider and former night watchman, finds a mutilated body floating in the city’s malodorous lake, he feels compelled to give the unidentifiable man a proper burial. For Cecil Winge, a brilliant lawyer turned consulting detective to the Stockholm police, a body with no arms, legs, or eyes is a formidable puzzle and one last chance to set things right before he loses his battle to consumption. Together, Winge and Cardell scour Stockholm to discover the body’s identity, encountering the sordid underbelly of the city’s elite.
Meanwhile, Kristofer Blix—the handsome son of a farmer—leaves rural life for the alluring charms of the capital and ambitions of becoming a doctor. His letters to his sister chronicle his wild good times and terrible misfortunes, which lead him down a treacherous path.
Into this unforgiving landscape comes a young woman—Anna-Stina—who is consigned to the workhouse after she upsets her parish priest. Her unlikely escape plan takes on new urgency when a sadistic guard marks her as his next victim.
Over the course of the novel, these extraordinary characters cross paths and collide in shocking and unforgettable ways. Niklas Natt och Dag paints a deliciously dark portrait of late 18th century Stockholm, and the frightful yet fascinating reality lurking behind the powdered and painted veneer of the era.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
This story ventures into many genres, historical fiction, thriller, crime fiction, horror and even true love and comes out on top in every case. The story begins in 1793 Stockholm when two children waken Mickel Cardell, to tell him that there is a body in the river. The one-armed ex soldier, known as the wolf, eventually retrieves the man. Well what is left of the poor bloke. He is without any limbs tongue or eyes. The police are called and ailing Cecil Winge, an ex watchman who has consumption, is a consulting detective to the police. He knows that this will probably be his last case so with the wolf at his side the watchman intends to discover who had kill this man and find out who he was in life.
The story drops back to a farmer’s young son Kristofer Blix, who wants better for himself so takes off to train as a doctor but he is ill prepared for the big city. Another tale follows the fortune of a young woman Anna Stina accused, charged and punished in the most horrendous way for something she had no part in. Four very different people, from very different backgrounds but each one will alter the lives of the others.
There are two more characters I have not mentioned, they are for the reader to find out themselves. If you ever wondered how a monster is made then you will find out in this book. This is an extremely gruesome story that some will really struggle with. It involves acts of deprivation and terrible cruelty. I was totally mesmerised with this author’s writing, brutal it was but what a story he told.
I really didn’t think that I could be shocked further but I was wrong. This is such an epic read where I became immersed in each persons story which were a catastrophe of errors. Absolutely outstanding, if you have the stomach for it!
I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Niklas Natt och Dag lives in Stockholm with his wife and their two sons.