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Ashes to Dust: Thora Gudmundsdottir Book 3 Paperback – 22 Jul 2010


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Ashes to Dust: Thora Gudmundsdottir Book 3 + The Day is Dark + My Soul to Take
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; 1st Edition edition (22 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444700065
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444700060
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 3.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 479,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Yrsa Sigurdardottir works as a civil engineer in Reykjavik. Her books for children have won prizes and great acclaim. Last Rituals is her first adult novel.

Product Description

Review

A chilling read, enhanced by Sigurdardottir's taut plotting, realistic characters, and dry humour. (Metro Crime Books of the Year)

'Publishers and blurb writers are competing to hail the new monarch of Nordic crime fiction.. I would be tempted to offer a name not from the obvious crime soil of Sweden or Norway, but from bleak and moody Iceland...' (Marcel Berlins, The Times)

Stands comparison with the finest contemporary crime writing anywhere in the world (TLS)

I can see why so many people are enthusiastic about Yrsa's work. It's very engaging, fresh and exciting. (James Patterson (on LAST RITUALS))

She is entitled to join the front ranks of Nordic crime writers. (The Times)

A fascinating setting and realistic characters make this an engrossing read - and Sigurdardottir maintains the intrigue as her clever plot unravels (Metro)

Brilliantly plotted and chilling (Daily Mirror)

An absorbing mystery . . . Sigurdardottir makes the island under hot lava just as atmospherically chilling as she made Iceland's dark winters in her two prior novels (The Times)

Iceland's answer to Stieg Larsson (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

Chilling Icelandic crime from the author of LAST RITUALS and MY SOUL TO TAKE

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Simon Clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 24 July 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ashes to Dust is the third novel featuring the engaging Reykjavik lawyer,
Thora Gudmundsdottir. It cannot be easy for the author to continue to
invent credible crime plots set in a largely crimeless society of just
over 300,000 people.Yet she pulls it off marvellously in what is her most
accomplished novel to date.
In 1973,in the Westmann Islands,some 100 miles off the Iceland mainland,
Eldfell volcano violently erupted leading to the evacuation of the islanders.
Thora is hired in 2007 by a client who is resisting excavation of his property.
When this resistance fails three bodies and a head are discovered in his basement
covered by volcanic dust.He becomes the suspect for these murders and a further
very recent one.The police seem convinced of his guilt so Thora carries out
her own investigations,only to find the locals unwilling to assist her.
This is a rich,lengthy,meticulously plotted story ,with plenty of surprises
along the way. Highly Recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sabina on 11 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book on the strength of the positive reviews and because of the Icelandic setting. The latter was quite enticing, with the investigative action set between Reykjavik and the Westmann Islands, and depicting how the excavation of misdeeds covered up by the lava eruption there decades before, links up with a current murder in the capital. And what a murder - it is decribed in the first few pages in a chilling and original way.
The investigation leads lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir to contact a variety of people in her home town (a plastic surgeon, a tatooist, the self-important young police inspector) and to travel to the Islands with her free-spirited, goth secretary to meet relatives of the victim and suspect. She gets the sense that people are not telling her all they know. At one point she hires a fishing boat tour in order to get information from the knowledgeable guide, though squeamish about the business of killing fish or the puffin hunt they witness.
Back in Rekyavik there is a deeply troubled anorexic girl who is witness to someting to do with the murder.

But I found much of the book fairly enjoyable and then frustrating in turn. The author does not seem to credit her readers with enough wit, and insisits on going over the same details and over-explaining all the possible motives and her own dilemnas. Some of the 'clues' are so obvious, but surrounded by too much uninteresting filler that if it weren't for the 'Icelandic interest' I may have put the book aside. Tightening up the writing would have made this a much better book. I may give another Ysra Sigurdardottir a try sometime, but in the hope that the plot and writing are less sluggish and crisper.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By EMB on 22 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had put off reading reading "Ashes to Dust" even though I had enjoyed the author's first 2 books as I was discouraged by the negative reviews that I read. I changed my mind and decided to give it a go when I read that the plot was based in the Westmann Islands. As I have been to Iceland recently, I thought I would get something out of reading it even if it wasn't a great thriller. Much to my surprise, I really liked this book and read it in a couple of days. I personally am glad it was more focused on the plot and not as much time spent on Thea's boyfriend or children. I thought the plot was satisfyingly complex and was interested in the dynamics of a small Icelandic community that were portrayed in the book. I wouldn't really compare these thrillers to the "Millennium" trilogy or even the the Wallander series. They are simpler but still enjoyable to read. It will really depend on what you want from a thriller. If you like lots of action and gore, this is definitely not the book for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By cartoon on 10 Sept. 2012
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Loved the previous two books but I struggled with this story. I am finding Thora less and less sympathetic, there is little here about her boyfriend or children and so it almost seemed like the plot for a short story . Also I feel there is too much criticism of the secretary Bella , who I actually quite warm to [ the better thriller writers allow characters to develop over the series ] . Then after finding much of the book really really slow [ too much telling not showing ] the ending suddenly rushed as if she had had enough telling of the tale .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Potter TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ashes to Dust is a long book, made longer by a ponderous story that goes to considerable and uninteresting lengths to veil the obvious whodunnit. The English text is translated from the original Icelandic and is at times reminiscent of the language used in Stieg Larsson's translated books. Ashes to Dust though lacks any of the colour, invention or enterprise Larsson's narratives offered. It is so simplified in stages you wonder if the narration is sometimes intended for children. The number of characters is mind boggling, all part of the attempt you feel, to further befuddle the obviousness of the plot.

Thóra Gudmundsdóttir is a lawyer tasked with supervising the archeological investigation of Markús Magnússon's childhood home, buried beneath lava after the 1973 eruption on Iceland's Heimaey Island. When bodies are found and the only witness from 1973 is found dead, Thóra is forced into defending Markús and digging deep into the events of 1973 in order to prove his innocence.

There is definitely an audience for this. Probably fans of Alan Titchmarsh, Sue Grafton or Rachel Joyce. If you like crime that holds no surprises, no shocks and offers no threat to any of the protagonists, or even antagonists, that gives you as much detail about characters thoughts and unrelated home lives as the case in hand, delivers one conversational interview after the other and delivers a whodunnit you guessed 467 pages ago, then look no further. There is not an ounce of thriller here at all.

I'm sorry I can't be positive about this. Hopefully this review has at least helped your decision making.
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