Friday, April 1, 2011


So, today the mail brought my copy of the latest novel with the Middle-earth-is-real meme, Michael Ridpath's WHERE THE SHADOWS LIE [2010]. Many thanks to friend Jessica, who sent it from the UK (the US edition not being due out for another few months) as part of our book exchange -- which back before the days of and and was just about the only way to get books published in England but not over here (short of picking them up yrself when on a research trip). Unlike MIRKWOOD, which is a fantasy, or LOOKING FOR THE KING, which is set in the 1940s, this looks to be cast in the form of a detective story, a modern day mystery novel.

--I was about to say that I'd never read a novel set in Iceland before, when I remembered that just last month I was reading JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH, quite a bit of wh. describes overland journey in Iceland, with plenty of local color (from a Frenchman who never visited Iceland). And of course I've read a fair number of sagas set in Iceland, of wh. by far the most vivid was NJAL'S SAGA (also known as 'The Saga of Burnt Njal'*)

Oddly enough, just last Sunday our local fantasy reading group, Mithlond, watched a documentary set in Iceland rather than reading a book for his month: HULDERFOLK 102, which is all about the (still-current) belief in the Fair Folk in modern-day Iceland. Highly recommended, if only for the stunning scenery and the revelation of how few of the Icelanders (one of the most ethnically isolated populations in the world) looked stereotypically "Icelandic".

Anyway, I'm coincidentally primed to read a book set in Iceland, and in this century; looks like just the thing to take along for reading on the plane on my upcoming visit to Wheaton.

More later, once I've had a chance to read the thing.

--John R.

current reading: THE STRICKEN DEER (a life of Cowper) by Lord David Cecil
current audiobook: THE MOONSTONE by Wilkie Collins

*from this alternate title, you can tell it's not going to have a happy ending. But then you can also tell that before you even start to read it, because it's a saga: 'happy endings' is not what they do.

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