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Friday, June 01, 2012

Operation Napoleon by Arnaldur Indridason

Operation Napoleon failed to overcome my disbelief...or I was simply not able to suspend it.

In 1945, a German bomber with American camouflage crashes into a glacier in Iceland.  An immediate, extensive search for the plane results, but the blizzard that caused the crash lasts for days, and the plane is effectively buried in the glacier.  Another huge search is mounted in 1967.  In 1999, satellites again see a possibility of the missing plane, and the evil Americans set about another retrieval effort.  Headed on the scene by Ratoff--not very subtle.

Two young men working with an Icelandic Rescue Team, leave their group to test their new snowmobiles, and happen on the evil Americans recovering the plane.  One young man, unsuspecting,  has used his cell phone to call his sister.  Kristin hears the broken message of her excited younger brother as the evil Americans capture the boys and end the phone call.

But they trace the phone call.  Of course.  And get information from the brother about Kristin.  Now Kristin is in danger.  And so on.  And on.

Except this 30 year-old lawyer manages to outwit and out run professional killers, not once, but over and over.  She WILL NOT BE STOPPED.  She WILL find out what happened to her brother, overcome all odds, and discover the secret the evil Americans do not want revealed.

 Without giving spoilers, it isn't that  plans such as the one the novel depicts might not have been floated by either British or Americans near the close of WWII or that there aren't some pretty unpleasant characters in the military, it is more that the actions of the American Embassy and  the decisions and behavior of the Icelandic president (as presented in the novel) not only fail to ring true, but cast a bad light on both countries.  An exaggerated and sinister view of both governments-- pretty much black and grey.  No white.

I'm pretty snarky on this one because I expected much more from this author.  The conclusion, such as it is, boggles the mind.

Fiction.  Mystery/Thriller (?)   May 2012.  352 pages.


  1. Exactly my reaction to this one. I think I was more disappointed because I did except so much more from this author than he delivered. Just goes to show that you can't believe everything you hear, I suppose.

  2. Sam - I wrote and scheduled this review over a week ago and thought I had changed it to a draft form. I was actually going to leave it in draft form because it is so snarky, but obviously I forgot. At least, I'm glad you didn't think much of it either.

  3. Well, good. Now I don't have to read this one any time soon.

  4. Snarky is fun. I enjoyed this review. It sounds like the author went overboard on coincidence to forward the plot, yes?

  5. Fay -- I didn't enjoy this one. It is one of his earlier books, however, not part of his Erlendur series, which I still want to try!

    Nancy - The novel had no complexity or depth. I just read Sam's review; he says he wishes he had avoided it. Sums it up for me.