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Iceland, 2017: When a young Italian tourist is found brutally murdered at a sacred church in northern Iceland, Magnus Jonson, newly returned to the Reykjavík police force, is called in to investigate. At the scene, he finds a stunned TV crew, there to film a documentary on the life of the legendary Viking, Gudrid the Wanderer. The documentary experts have unearthed controv Iceland, 2017: When a young Italian tourist is found brutally murdered at a sacred church in northern Iceland, Magnus Jonson, newly returned to the Reykjavík police force, is called in to investigate. At the scene, he finds a stunned TV crew, there to film a documentary on the life of the legendary Viking, Gudrid the Wanderer. The documentary experts have unearthed controversial evidence that Christopher Columbus knew more about the existence of America than has ever been previously realised.Magnus begins to suspect that there may be more links to the murdered woman than anyone in the film crew will acknowledge. As jealousies come to the surface, new tensions replace old friendships, and history begins to rewrite itself, a shocking second murder leads Magnus to question everything he thought he knew...


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Iceland, 2017: When a young Italian tourist is found brutally murdered at a sacred church in northern Iceland, Magnus Jonson, newly returned to the Reykjavík police force, is called in to investigate. At the scene, he finds a stunned TV crew, there to film a documentary on the life of the legendary Viking, Gudrid the Wanderer. The documentary experts have unearthed controv Iceland, 2017: When a young Italian tourist is found brutally murdered at a sacred church in northern Iceland, Magnus Jonson, newly returned to the Reykjavík police force, is called in to investigate. At the scene, he finds a stunned TV crew, there to film a documentary on the life of the legendary Viking, Gudrid the Wanderer. The documentary experts have unearthed controversial evidence that Christopher Columbus knew more about the existence of America than has ever been previously realised.Magnus begins to suspect that there may be more links to the murdered woman than anyone in the film crew will acknowledge. As jealousies come to the surface, new tensions replace old friendships, and history begins to rewrite itself, a shocking second murder leads Magnus to question everything he thought he knew...

30 review for The Wanderer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Hatton

    A female Italian student is murdered near an archaeological site in northern Iceland near to where a TV documentary is being filmed. This lead me to expect something of a delightful cross between Ragnar Jonasson and Elly Griffiths, although it turned out somewhat different from that. Later on, two other females are also murdered. Could the deaths all be linked? For me, the most enjoyable parts of the novel were the evocative descriptions of the Icelandic and Greenlandic landscapes and seascapes a A female Italian student is murdered near an archaeological site in northern Iceland near to where a TV documentary is being filmed. This lead me to expect something of a delightful cross between Ragnar Jonasson and Elly Griffiths, although it turned out somewhat different from that. Later on, two other females are also murdered. Could the deaths all be linked? For me, the most enjoyable parts of the novel were the evocative descriptions of the Icelandic and Greenlandic landscapes and seascapes and, especially, the legend of the eponymous Gudrid The Wanderer; an Icelandic woman who travelled to and settled in Greenland and later, probably, Nantucket island off the coast of Massachusetts. The central character, detective Magnus Ragnarsson was pretty interesting ( I gather this is one of a series of novels in which he features), however, most of the peripheral characters seemed a bit sketchy and the resolution of the plot became increasingly obvious as the novel progressed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Hall

    My only past experience with the novels of Michael Ridpath is through his financial thrillers which I found enthralling but this is my first read of his Icelandic based crime thriller series that features Inspector Magnús Ragnarsson (Jonson) of the Violent Crimes Unit of Reykjavík CID. Although of Icelandic descent, Magnús was transplanted to Boston as a teenager where he became a homicide detective and has spent most of his life so far. After a previous secondment with the Reykjavík Metropolita My only past experience with the novels of Michael Ridpath is through his financial thrillers which I found enthralling but this is my first read of his Icelandic based crime thriller series that features Inspector Magnús Ragnarsson (Jonson) of the Violent Crimes Unit of Reykjavík CID. Although of Icelandic descent, Magnús was transplanted to Boston as a teenager where he became a homicide detective and has spent most of his life so far. After a previous secondment with the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police an opening for a detective sees Magnüs return to the country after a hiatus of five years. Although this is technically the fifth novel in the Fire and Ice series it works perfectly well as a stand-alone with the back story of Magnús and his career and life to date unobtrusively drip-fed as the story unfolds. An intriguing prologue set in Italy in 1979 sees a US academic and professor of Viking history, Nancy Fishburn, and two rare book experts discussing the possibility that Norsemen may well have discovered Greenland and America long before Christopher Columbus made his recorded discovery. Cut to Iceland in 2017 and the filming of a documentary on the extraordinary story of Gudrid the Wanderer who was Erik the Red’s daughter-in-law and an explorer who was born is Iceland, married in Greenland, had a son in Vinland and later embarked on a pilgrimage to Rome. Preparing to unveil the contentious Columbus theory in the forthcoming documentary on the basis of the discovery of two pieces of controversial evidence (a traditional wampum shell excavated in Greenland and a letter from Columbus found in a book housed in the Vatican Secrets Archives), interest in the finished documentary promises to be high. When the film crew stumble across the body of a murdered Italian tourist on location in Glaumber, Magnús is sent to investigate an incident that is practically unheard of in Iceland. With the crew initially all denying knowing the murder victim the barely concealed tension and anxious behaviour soon gives Magnús reason to believe that not all are being entirely truthful with their assertions. As he gradually roots out their undisclosed secrets and the body count rises, Magnús is forced to acknowledge that the answer must lie within the commissioned documentary. Searching for a motive linking all of three murders soon leads him to doubt the veracity of the supporting evidence and he begins to suspect an elaborate hoax and audacious attempt to rewrite history. A third-person narrative that includes snapshots into the past and the discovery of the actual ‘evidence’ serves to further involve the reader in the unfolding drama. With the production company and financial livelihood of English producer, Suzy Henshaw, dependent on the success of the documentary, the career of presenter Eygló and the reputations of academics Dr Einar Thorsteinsson and Professor Marco Beccari all at stake, everybody involved has plenty to lose. As Magnús’s quest takes him to Greenland and deep into the past it throws up a handful of viable suspects with a constantly shifting spotlight casting doubt on them all! In contrast to the stereotypical Scandinavian crime novels which typically feature a morose and damaged detective with a multitude of their own problems, forty-one-year-old Magnus feels pretty normal and in the wake of solving his father’s murder his main preoccupation is that he feels neither typically American or Icelandic and is unsure where he really belongs together with a recent messy relationship breakdown with Icelandic native, Ingleif. The crime in question is steeped in the prevailing history of the country and Magnús’s personal fascination with the history and culture of the country gives him a genuine interest in finding the answers. Michael Ridpath conveys the background coherently, making it accessible and easy for the layperson to grasp with a good balance to the focus on Magnús’s life outside the police force making him actually feel human. Differences between the US approach to detection and the more transparent Icelandic approach are also neatly highlighted with Magnús used to operating in Boston from the standpoint of a suspect not even knowing they are on his radar with the Icelandic approach much more direct and transparent. The novel is not without its flaws however with Magnús certainly not the most skilled detective and the approach of his black female colleague, Vigdís Audardótti, heavy-handed and blunt. Furthermore there are lengthy periods given over to explanations of the sagas, history of the country and changes in the aftermath of the financial crash of 2008 which some readers may find dry. There is also little explanation for the reasoning behind the leap of intuition made by Magnús and his suspicions regarding the authenticity of the artefacts which are crucial to supporting the theory behind the new documentary. In truth this matters little and allows for a fast-paced and entertaining investigation with the added benefit of providing a wealth of background detail on a fascinating country, its history and the culture of a very modern Iceland. In theory nothing about this series should work with an odd mash-up of a detective who is something of an outsider in the country of his birth and seen as an American, and a plot that concerns itself with everything from volcanic eruptions to rewriting the lost sagas of the country. The surprise, however, is that Michael Ridpath skilfully pulls it off and this all makes for a hugely satisfying investigation with real depth. An offbeat and entertaining Icelandic police procedural with a focus on the changing face of Iceland that and is packed with everything from regional colour to an insight into the psyche of the natives. A hugely compelling read and whilst the prose is at times a tad lifeless and without much flourish, I was completely gripped. Set against the bleakly beautiful backdrop of Iceland it all makes for a highly atmospheric encounter and The Wanderer is a richly rewarding read and a great introduction to a series that I intend to catch-up and continue with.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    The Wanderer – A Fantastic Icelandic Thriller Michael Ridpath once again has proven why he is a master of crime writing with his latest Icelandic thriller, The Wanderer. Well written, well researched Ridpath really knows how to draw in the reader and keep them hooked and always leaves the read questioning whether really have worked out who is the murderer before the reveal. It is not often I have wait until a couple of pages before the reveal to guess who the killer is. Ridpath makes you keep thi The Wanderer – A Fantastic Icelandic Thriller Michael Ridpath once again has proven why he is a master of crime writing with his latest Icelandic thriller, The Wanderer. Well written, well researched Ridpath really knows how to draw in the reader and keep them hooked and always leaves the read questioning whether really have worked out who is the murderer before the reveal. It is not often I have wait until a couple of pages before the reveal to guess who the killer is. Ridpath makes you keep thinking you have it, even when you haven’t. A young female Italian tourist is found murdered by the side of a church in Northern Iceland, Magnus Jonson is sent north to head up the Inquiry. To complicate matters there is a documentary film crew working at the same time, investigating one of the great Icelandic Viking mysteries, of who discovered America. At the same time a parallel story about the discovery of America, whether it was the Vikings of Columbus. That brings in the Vatican Library, rare book dealers, historians and archaeologists. Is there a historical hoax at play or is everything as it seems? When a second murder happens, and it is found to be connected to the first, Magnus has to review what he knows and how to proceed forward. What Magnus cans see is that everything seems to be connected to the documentary film crew, but he cannot see how, but he does have some suspicions. A totally absorbing read, that keeps you hooked throughout, with some fantastic characters, a great story. Michael Ridpath is a wordsmith who paints so many pictures with words, that reading this book was an absolute pleasure.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ken Fredette

    Well I waited what seems forever but my to read list seemed to increase quite substantially and The Wanderer by Michael Ridpath just got sucked to the bottom, but I'm caught up now. I really missed Magnus and wondered how he was going to come back into the fray. I like how he came back especially because of Eygló being in the mix. John, Nancy and Emilio hatched a plan that after everyone died would become know to the world as some kind of Gudrid Saga that exposed Christopher Columbus a Well I waited what seems forever but my to read list seemed to increase quite substantially and The Wanderer by Michael Ridpath just got sucked to the bottom, but I'm caught up now. I really missed Magnus and wondered how he was going to come back into the fray. I like how he came back especially because of Eygló being in the mix. John, Nancy and Emilio hatched a plan that after everyone died would become know to the world as some kind of Gudrid Saga that exposed Christopher Columbus as not being the first explorer to reach the new world. It started with the killing of Carlotta Mondini at the back of a church in Iceland, then Nancy Fishburn was killed in a hotel room in Iceland, next Rosa was knifed in Greenland. All the while Rosa's husband, Einar was looked at as the most favorable killer. Eygló, Suzy, Tom, Ajay, Einar and Professor Beccari were the film crew that found the first body. But Magnus follows them to Greenland after Rosa caught the film crews flight there. There's where I will leave you since I don't want to give the story away. It was a good read an we almost lost Magnus so you need to read it now.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David

    I found Magnus unappetizing. He seemed a bit slow, and pretty sexist, checking out every woman, at least in terms of descriptions. (view spoiler)[ And then he talks about how much he would like to get to know his (surprise) son, yet he seems more happy to tromp off with the beautiful girl at the end, even somewhat appearing to leverage his position to get her. (hide spoiler)] And many of the characters feel woody and two-dimensional. I did enjoy the descriptions of Greenland, it made me want to I found Magnus unappetizing. He seemed a bit slow, and pretty sexist, checking out every woman, at least in terms of descriptions. (view spoiler)[ And then he talks about how much he would like to get to know his (surprise) son, yet he seems more happy to tromp off with the beautiful girl at the end, even somewhat appearing to leverage his position to get her. (hide spoiler)] And many of the characters feel woody and two-dimensional. I did enjoy the descriptions of Greenland, it made me want to visit!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    I have read all of the books in this series and enjoyed them all. This one seems to promise another installment. I am looking forward to it! I have read all of the books in this series and enjoyed them immensely. This one seems to promise another installment. I am looking forward to it!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hepworth

    Iceland, 2017: When Magnus Jonson is called in to investigate the murder of a young Italian tourist at a sacred church in northern Iceland, he finds a shocked TV crew there. They are in the middle of filming a documentary on the life of Gudrid the Wanderer, the legendary female Viking who, a thousand years earlier had travelled thousands of miles, started to explore a new continent (North America), farmed in Greenland, married and had a son there, before finally returning to Iceland to settle do Iceland, 2017: When Magnus Jonson is called in to investigate the murder of a young Italian tourist at a sacred church in northern Iceland, he finds a shocked TV crew there. They are in the middle of filming a documentary on the life of Gudrid the Wanderer, the legendary female Viking who, a thousand years earlier had travelled thousands of miles, started to explore a new continent (North America), farmed in Greenland, married and had a son there, before finally returning to Iceland to settle down with her family. Magnus, who had only recently returned to the Reykjavik force after working as a detective in America, quickly comes to believe that there are probably more links to the film crew, and the focus of the documentary, than any of the crew will acknowledge. As tensions increase, old friendships are put under the spotlight and history begins to rewrite itself: a second murder shocks everyone and makes Magnus question everything he thought he knew. I found this an easy to read but engaging and entertaining story, with enough twists and turns in the search for the murderer to add an element of tension to the story-telling. The fact that by about halfway through the story I had managed to solve that mystery didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book because there were other elements which held my interest. I loved the way in which the author interwove historical links to the Icelandic Sagas with a modern-day story, using as a central theme the fact that Viking explorers discovered Greenland and North America sometime around AD 1000 – several centuries before Christopher Columbus! Although a major thread in his story is based on fictionalised historical events, in his author’s note at the end of the book he does make it clear what is fact and what is fiction. This is a reflective murder mystery rather than a “high-octane” thriller, with most of the tension in the story-telling coming from the gradual exposure of all the secrets which the various characters were trying to conceal. Although I found most of the plotting, as well as the various characters and their interrelationships interesting and reasonably credible, most of my enjoyment of this story came from two sources, the author’s evocative descriptions of Iceland and Greenland and his creative use of history. His personal fascination with both shone through his narrative and made me want to discover more, something which always adds a welcome extra dimension to my reading experience and this influenced my decision to give this story a four-star rating. However, I do have a minor niggle! Two additions would have helped me to enjoy this story even more – a map showing the various locations in Iceland (there was one for Greenland) and a guide to pronunciation of characters’ and place names! Although this is the fifth in “ The Magnus Iceland Mysteries” series, I found that it was very easy to read as a stand-alone story because there were enough hints about the main character’s background to make sense of who he was and what motivated him. It was clear from the way in which this story ended that there will be another book in the series and, when it is eventually published, I’ll be tempted to read it to discover more about Magnus, his colleagues and Icelandic life! My thanks to Corvus and Readers First for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Isla Scott

    First off, I found this a reasonably easy read, with short chapters and a plot thats not too difficult to keep track of. The only exception to this being the Icelandic names of the characters (plus the various place names) - I would never claim to be fluent in Icelandic, so I'm glad I don't have to read the book out but really thats a small issue. I liked it as there's more than one story at play - there's a sort of fictional historical story (not that its set primarily in the past but it talks First off, I found this a reasonably easy read, with short chapters and a plot thats not too difficult to keep track of. The only exception to this being the Icelandic names of the characters (plus the various place names) - I would never claim to be fluent in Icelandic, so I'm glad I don't have to read the book out but really thats a small issue. I liked it as there's more than one story at play - there's a sort of fictional historical story (not that its set primarily in the past but it talks about Christopher Columbus' presumed discovery of America and questions whether Scandinavian's may have actually discovered America before Columbus) as well as the contemporary crime story. There's an authors note following the end of the main text, at the back of the book, which clarifies what is fictional and what has a true historical basis. I was interested in both parts of the story (sub plots) and I liked how different chapters move the focus from one character (or set of characters) to another. I found myself being left guessing what may happen next and being proven wrong. At one point I was suspicious that I may have guessed who had committed the crime but then I was proven wrong within a few pages of reading on and that left me even more keen to read on and find out what the ultimate outcome was. Also, as far as the crime element is concerned, it isn't horrendously gory or violent in terms of descriptions etc., which was good for me as I can be a bit put off by books which are especially gory. If you like Scandi crime noir type shows then this may be of interest to you and I'd say its worth a read. I believe the main character, Magnus, has been written about before and I hadn't read any of the authors' previous novels featuring him but I found it (as I say) easy to follow the story and get an idea of who the people were, obviously including Magnus, so I wouldn't say it should put you off reading it, if you haven't read other novels featuring Magnus before either. I felt the ending was a little unlikely - you may need to suspend disbelief for the very ending - the last 10 pages or so at least. Also, I noticed the quote on the front cover which reads 'One of our finest thriller writers - Daily Mail'. Well, I wouldn't (personally) categorise this as a thriller read as such, as it isn't especially action packed or fast paced as such. I'd say crime drama (with a bit of history) is a better description. If it interests you, I'd say its worth a look but its not a particularly amazing or memorable book (many books aren't) - its a good quick-ish read all the same though.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gill Chedgey

    Michael Ridpath has written umpteen books about policeman Magnus Jonson but this is my first one. There seemed to be several references to a past that might be worth exploring in previous books since Magnus seems to be a likeable, if ever so slightly flawed, character, personable and zealous in the execution of his duty. Since I don’t believe in coincidences and having very recently read The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson I’m wondering if this is the year of the Icelandic novel for me?! Ce Michael Ridpath has written umpteen books about policeman Magnus Jonson but this is my first one. There seemed to be several references to a past that might be worth exploring in previous books since Magnus seems to be a likeable, if ever so slightly flawed, character, personable and zealous in the execution of his duty. Since I don’t believe in coincidences and having very recently read The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson I’m wondering if this is the year of the Icelandic novel for me?! Certainly the tale does credit to the country, aside from the crime of course! The writer conveys a real sense of Iceland; what it is to live, work and travel to and from a country deemed to be the most sparsely populated in Europe. Clearly he loves the country. The book is rich, too, in the history and legends of Iceland and it is that which provides the catalyst for the fiction. Yet the book has a truly international flavour. An Italian tourist is murdered close to a location where a documentary film crew are making a film about Gudrid The Wanderer. When there is a second murder it becomes clear that this is far from being a ‘simple’ crime. What follows struck me sometimes as a cross between Dan Brown and Stieg Larsson, Icelandic style!! It’s a myriad spider web of blurred lines and half truths, tangled relationships, red herrings and twos and twos making fives. But as with most crime stories you know as you are reading that the perpetrator is there right in front of your eyes. But can you make the right connections? Can you get there before the police do? I found the plot enjoyable and thought provoking but I can’t say why or I’d have to indulge in a spoiler and I’m just not in the mood!! But in fact there was more than plot at play in this engrossing story which bulked it out a bit. But if I’m honest I’m not sure exactly what it added to the book as a whole other than allow some character development for Magnus. Although blurbed as a thriller I feel that is a little misleading it’s more an historically flavoured crime fiction. It’s easy to read with a comfortable narrative style from an experienced writer. It must surely satisfy fans of Ridpath and Magnus and gain some new ones in the process. Many thanks to Readers First and Corvus books for the opportunity to read this. Michael Ridpath is now definitely on my radar.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marjorie

    2.5 Stars The best bit of this book for me was the Viking Sagas and the little dollops of history served out at the beginning of the book. The story of the Vikings and their exploration to unknown territories is endlessly interesting and I think there is little doubt they discovered the land now known as America long before the accepted discovery in the 15th Century. The only problem with that is there is no hard archaelogical evidence to support the theory. In this book Michael Ridpath takes tha 2.5 Stars The best bit of this book for me was the Viking Sagas and the little dollops of history served out at the beginning of the book. The story of the Vikings and their exploration to unknown territories is endlessly interesting and I think there is little doubt they discovered the land now known as America long before the accepted discovery in the 15th Century. The only problem with that is there is no hard archaelogical evidence to support the theory. In this book Michael Ridpath takes that and runs with it - a letter from Columbus to his brother is found in the Vatican Secret archives appearing to detail information from Icelandic Sagas that leads him to America. Couple this with the finding of wampum shells at a Nordic settlement in Greenland and it would seem that the proof finally exists. Unfortunately for the team making a documentary about the wanderings of Gudrid and her family this leads them to discover the brutal murder of a young archaeologist at a site closely linked to Gudrid and they could all be in danger. Sadly for this reader it all then falls apart somewhat. I found there to be little in the way of sympathetic characters in the book and there are a lot of loose ends left untied at the end. As this is just one of a series of books around Magnus Ragnarsson then I can understand that but it does mean it loses a little as a stand alone read; this is a pity as knowledge of the previous books in the series is not necessary to read this one - indeed we are told so much of Magnus' history that it may be of a detriment to have read earlier books. The thriller aspect of the tale is pretty standard fare but I found that I could not really become interested in the who or why; it was all just a little bit flat. The writing itself is good and does evoke Iceland and Greenland very nicely and actually makes them seem like a great destination to visit. What it doesn't do is immerse you in the characters so you care about what is happening, or the who or the why. Pretty standard fare that is an easy read but doesn't really involve you as more than an observer. I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM READERS FIRST IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    This is the second book in a series featuring Magnus Jonson, born in Iceland, raised in America, a former Boston detective, returned to his native country to continue his work. He's caught between worlds, not quite Icelandic, not quite American. I found I could easily follow this book without having read the first one, there were some references to the previous story, enough to give context into the current story but it didn't feel so much history was missing as to not be able to follow the char This is the second book in a series featuring Magnus Jonson, born in Iceland, raised in America, a former Boston detective, returned to his native country to continue his work. He's caught between worlds, not quite Icelandic, not quite American. I found I could easily follow this book without having read the first one, there were some references to the previous story, enough to give context into the current story but it didn't feel so much history was missing as to not be able to follow the characters and their motivations. Though there was one storyline in this book that was left hanging which I suppose would be continued in the next. I enjoy reading book series but it's disappointing to me when the individual books aren't stand alone stories. It's one thing to leave a little mystery to encourage going on to the next book, but in this story what was left hanging was a very large part of the side story that developed which also gave insight into Magnus as a man but also as a detective, since he can't separate one from the other. I was surprised to find the author was English, I had thought it was written by an Icelander, so the research was well done: how The Sagas are truly woven into their culture and lives; intertwined lives and connections in such a small country where everyone's somehow related; the custom of addressing everyone by first names; the push and pull of the present and the past that roots what they do now in the who they came from. I wanted to read this since I had recently visited the Land of Fire and Ice. I hoped this book would capture the feel of the people and the land, and it did. 4 stars - In the past I might have given this only 3-3.5 stars, but I've revised my definition of 4 stars from "would read it again" to "would read it again, or others in the series, or others by the author". Though this would not be a book I would read over again (like I would a classic) I did like the characters and may continue in the series and/or may read other books by this author as I thought the writing was well done.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    Pleased that Magnus, the "American Icelander", has returned to Iceland for a fifth story in this series - I was afraid we had seen the last of him. This is an enjoyable, fairly quick book to read, set mainly in Iceland and Greenland, with a main story based around the Viking discovery of America. A film crew is making a documentary about the history of "Vinland", but discovers the body of a murdered Italian woman at a church in the north of Iceland, which Magnus is sent to investigate. As well a Pleased that Magnus, the "American Icelander", has returned to Iceland for a fifth story in this series - I was afraid we had seen the last of him. This is an enjoyable, fairly quick book to read, set mainly in Iceland and Greenland, with a main story based around the Viking discovery of America. A film crew is making a documentary about the history of "Vinland", but discovers the body of a murdered Italian woman at a church in the north of Iceland, which Magnus is sent to investigate. As well as the tensions between the film crew and its advisors, questions begin to arise about two pieces of evidence which support the theory that the Norse explorers had actually reached an identifiable location in Nantucket: a shell necklace of native American origin found at the site of a dig in Greenland, and a letter found inside a book at the Vatican. Academic rivalry and literary forgery are always good breeding grounds for crime (and the original forgery appears to have been done partly as a joke, something which has been known to happen elsewhere when people have wanted to supply the missing link in a country's history or literature!) The modern post-crash Icelandic setting is up to date and the descriptions of Iceland and Greenland vividly drawn: there's a second story involving an attack on a former policeman which perhaps develops a bit unevenly, although maybe we will see more of him if there are further instalments. There is also the possibility that Magnus has a child which he didn't know about from a previous relationship, so another suggestion of future developments. This book would probably be fine as a standalone if you have not read the others - enough of the back story is revealed without too much recapping.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bucks, Books & Beyond

    I haven’t read anything by this author before but what drew me to this book is that it’s set in Iceland, a county I have visited, and i’m always interested in reading books set in places I have been. I find it interesting reading other people’s descriptions of places to see how they fare against my own. I liked the fact that this book is broken down into fairly short chapters. This is a book where I read short chunks at a time and the storyline is one where it is easy to pick up where you left o I haven’t read anything by this author before but what drew me to this book is that it’s set in Iceland, a county I have visited, and i’m always interested in reading books set in places I have been. I find it interesting reading other people’s descriptions of places to see how they fare against my own. I liked the fact that this book is broken down into fairly short chapters. This is a book where I read short chunks at a time and the storyline is one where it is easy to pick up where you left off. I enjoyed how the author implicated many of the different characters in the murder of Carlotta with each of them having believable and valid reasons for wanting her out of the picture. As the story progresses, one by one the evidence exonerates each of these characters until we are left with one, the murderer. As I read through the book I felt like I was working the investigation alongside Magnus and trying to piece together the clues and evidence to solve the mystery. We don’t learn a whole lot about Magnus as a character in this book. There is some mention of his struggles with having been born in Iceland but spending the majority of his time living in America, and there is some mention of a previous relationship and a child from when he last visited Iceland, but the story does mainly focus on the investigation development and not character development in my opinion. The character Magnus has featured in other books by the author and i’m interested to read more about this character and what investigations he has been involved in. This book is a classic ‘who done it’ type of book and I would recommend for anyone who likes this kind of story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lee-anne Fox

    Magnus is back! It's good to have Magnus back in Iceland...although he doesn't stay for too long as he expands his ice-bound locations to include Greenland this time, on the trail of a killer with lots of blind avenues, much like Greenland's dead-end fjords. I might say I was a little disappointed with a lack of resolution to a certain character's storyline at the end, but I'm not TOO devastated since it bodes well for a sequel! The rest of the book was Ridpath's usual high quality product, gorge Magnus is back! It's good to have Magnus back in Iceland...although he doesn't stay for too long as he expands his ice-bound locations to include Greenland this time, on the trail of a killer with lots of blind avenues, much like Greenland's dead-end fjords. I might say I was a little disappointed with a lack of resolution to a certain character's storyline at the end, but I'm not TOO devastated since it bodes well for a sequel! The rest of the book was Ridpath's usual high quality product, gorgeous descriptions that flow in the text without standing out as excessive or filler-ish, but just sit perfectly in the narrative. The characters are all beautifully delineated and the plot twists and turns - I just love his work and really had to restrain myself from bolting it all down in one go! There was a "don't you dare!" moment close to the end, readers of Ragnar Jonasson's the Darkness who have also read the Wanderer will know which bit I mean and what I feared!! If you haven't read the rest of the Magnus series, go for it because they're worth it, whether you're an Icelandophile like me or just love a cracking good read, you're in for a real treat. But I do think this book stands well enough alone, so you could start here if you wanted (but why deprive yourself of so much additional pleasure?!) I might have to reconsider my star ratings system because I reserve 5* for three likes of Jane Austen and Robin Hobb only, but if it weren't for that personal quirk-rule of mine, I would certainly have given this 5*.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Welcome back, Magnus! What a treat to read another installment of the Fire& Ice series! I had been waiting for years to read another procedural following Magnus Jonson’s (or Ragnarsson’s, to be technically correct) investigative exploits. As always, Michael Ridpath brings depth and texture to the characters. Even the minor characters are well developed. Ridpath incorporates the history and culture of both Iceland and Greenland, introducing us to Gudrid, the daughter-in-law of Erik the Red, and he Welcome back, Magnus! What a treat to read another installment of the Fire& Ice series! I had been waiting for years to read another procedural following Magnus Jonson’s (or Ragnarsson’s, to be technically correct) investigative exploits. As always, Michael Ridpath brings depth and texture to the characters. Even the minor characters are well developed. Ridpath incorporates the history and culture of both Iceland and Greenland, introducing us to Gudrid, the daughter-in-law of Erik the Red, and her amazing exploits of discovery. As often happens in Ridpath books, the reader learns fascinating facts and tidbits of trivia, as well as a greater appreciation for a diverse culture. Ridpath’s powerful, vivid descriptions bring the dramatic landscape to life. The reader can hear the wind, feel the chill, see the stark mountain scape. The sea mist off the whitecaps of the surging ocean practically drips from the pages. Every time I read one of these stories, my desire to visit Iceland - and now Greenland - is enhanced. The plot is intricately woven and realistically portrayed. In this particular book, I was able to identify the perpetrator fairly quickly ... an unusual achievement in a Ridpath work. But Ridpath still included elements in the back story that brought fun surprises as the resolution unfolded, thus dispelling any disappointment at “solving” the mystery early. Finally Ridpath also interweaves a tantalizing subplot that portends more novels to come. I eagerly anticipate the next installment.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kaitelin

    With no previous experience with murder mystery/ crime novels, I expected that I would read the first impression and find no interest. However, the strange combination that Ridpath concocted through this mystery and the theme of a historical time-period intrigued me to put my name in for this book. Although it took me a few days to find a pace with this book, I am delighted that I persevered as I found myself engaging with both the mystery of the murder and the historical context that Ridpath la With no previous experience with murder mystery/ crime novels, I expected that I would read the first impression and find no interest. However, the strange combination that Ridpath concocted through this mystery and the theme of a historical time-period intrigued me to put my name in for this book. Although it took me a few days to find a pace with this book, I am delighted that I persevered as I found myself engaging with both the mystery of the murder and the historical context that Ridpath laid out. The mystery in itself was a little extended for me and I felt that some aspects were elaborated on a little too much, including a wide range of significant characters that I felt got a little confused at times; I do, however, blame this on my lack of patience. Nonetheless, Ridpath was successful in keeping the reader engaged in the mystery through progressive exposure of new leads and information that, had I had more experience with this genre, I may have picked up on and been able to solve the mystery along side Magnus as the book progressed. Overall, I am very much satisified with my experience with this book and am delighted to have found out that this book is one of a series as I feel the combination of murder mystery and Ridpath's fascination with Icelandic history will help me to venture into this genre of book quite comfortably.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tony Nielsen

    Even though I am constantly tracking down new authors and novels from Scandinavia I haven't encountered many thrillers based in Iceland. History, archeology, murder and intrigue are all mashed up in Michael Ridpath's "The Wanderer". One of the most critical characters in the story is a century's old adventurer called Gudrid the Wanderer who may have pre-empted Christopher Columbus's discovery of America and had lived on Iceland back in the 1,400's. When a young woman is found murdered by a film cr Even though I am constantly tracking down new authors and novels from Scandinavia I haven't encountered many thrillers based in Iceland. History, archeology, murder and intrigue are all mashed up in Michael Ridpath's "The Wanderer". One of the most critical characters in the story is a century's old adventurer called Gudrid the Wanderer who may have pre-empted Christopher Columbus's discovery of America and had lived on Iceland back in the 1,400's. When a young woman is found murdered by a film crew trying to re-tell Gudrid's story, and Magnus Jonson becomes the lead investigator having just returned from a position with the Boston Police. Clues were hard to come by, but then Magnus and his small team are confronted by another murder, with limited options for them to pin the deaths on. The other character which looms large is the weather and the topography of Iceland, and on Greenland, which also becomes part of the inquiry. Magnus Jonson is an intrepid and clever detective but this case isn't easy to bust. Michael Ridpath is a name you will want to remember after he brings this story to an unexpected conclusion in The Wanderer.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    I haven’t long finished the fourth book in this series when I started this one, keen to continue reading about the Icelandic noir adventures of Detective Magnús Ragnarsson. This is a 3.5 star read for me - not as highly rated as the previous four and trying to put my finger on what was missing for me. I do love reading about Magnús - he’s a lovable kind of guy, caught in a world of being Icelandic and also American and trying to sort out his identity in that regard. The elements of this story wer I haven’t long finished the fourth book in this series when I started this one, keen to continue reading about the Icelandic noir adventures of Detective Magnús Ragnarsson. This is a 3.5 star read for me - not as highly rated as the previous four and trying to put my finger on what was missing for me. I do love reading about Magnús - he’s a lovable kind of guy, caught in a world of being Icelandic and also American and trying to sort out his identity in that regard. The elements of this story were certainly what I love to read about - Icelandic sagas, adventure, historical tie ins in a both Iceland and Greenland. Somehow tho this book kind of became a cliche murder mystery for me and whilst very enjoyable did not wow me. I would have liked to see further extension of Magnús character, exploring his identity crisis, understanding the five year gap between the last book and this one, getting inside his head so to speak. I like a good procedural thriller but this one bordered on the ho hum for me even though I desperately wanted it to be more. All in all a great read and I will certainly continue to get my hands on anything Magnús.

  19. 4 out of 5

    The Bookseller

    It has been quite a few years since we joined Magnus Jonson in a crime detective novel. Being one of my favourite authors, I was eager to return to another Michael Ridapth book in the Fire & Ice series. Right from the start I was delighted, as it was almost like returning to a comfortable and familiar environment. What surprised me the most was how Ridpath positioned the settings and characters. In the previous novel ‘Sea of Stone’, the long running subplot of his father’s murder was resolved. If It has been quite a few years since we joined Magnus Jonson in a crime detective novel. Being one of my favourite authors, I was eager to return to another Michael Ridapth book in the Fire & Ice series. Right from the start I was delighted, as it was almost like returning to a comfortable and familiar environment. What surprised me the most was how Ridpath positioned the settings and characters. In the previous novel ‘Sea of Stone’, the long running subplot of his father’s murder was resolved. If Ridpath had never written another book in the series, you would have been left quite satisfied. It had all come to a natural conclusion. So this new book sets itself as if time has passed; almost like this is a season two. Characters have changed or moved on, Magnus’ situation in life is different and (perfectly) a new subplot is brewing. As for the story, it perfectly encapsulated the essence of Iceland and as usual focuses on an important political topics in current times. What is probably great about this novel is that, like all of them, (excluding Sea of Stone) you can read it without reading the others.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ursula

    This murder mystery in Iceland and Greenland also involves Italian and American characters. There is a strong background of the Viking sagas and Vinland travels which took place over a thousand years ago. The settings are interesting and include some beautiful locations, archaeological digs, churches and television production. So something for everyone! Magnus is a very likeable detective and we learn some of his history. This is by no means the first novel mapping out his life but I quite happil This murder mystery in Iceland and Greenland also involves Italian and American characters. There is a strong background of the Viking sagas and Vinland travels which took place over a thousand years ago. The settings are interesting and include some beautiful locations, archaeological digs, churches and television production. So something for everyone! Magnus is a very likeable detective and we learn some of his history. This is by no means the first novel mapping out his life but I quite happily read it as a standalone story. Only a couple of minor characters are unexplored with all the others rendered in full HD. Many are doing the best they can so it's difficult to guess what's really going on, who may be lying and who may be guilty. There is twist after twist among the main plot and several supplementary stories, leaving not a whole lot of space to deal with the Icelandic farmers who settled in Greenland. I shall have to satisfy my curiosity about that part of history with a little extra reading.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angela L

    This book was OK. It starts off with a snippet of the past - a boozy night, audacious plan and a threesome between academics. Fast forward to the present day and Magnus, an Icelandic cop who has worked in the US and returned home, finds himself quickly investigating the murder of an Italian tourist. Meanwhile a TV crew are in the country filming a documentary for the BBC which questions just how far Icelandic ancestors explored and whether they were actually the discoverers of North America. As we This book was OK. It starts off with a snippet of the past - a boozy night, audacious plan and a threesome between academics. Fast forward to the present day and Magnus, an Icelandic cop who has worked in the US and returned home, finds himself quickly investigating the murder of an Italian tourist. Meanwhile a TV crew are in the country filming a documentary for the BBC which questions just how far Icelandic ancestors explored and whether they were actually the discoverers of North America. As we proceed it becomes clear that these three groups/events are linked and members of the TV crew fall under suspicion. Meanwhile the body count starts rising - just who has got a secret that they are desperate to keep hidden? It's by no means a bad story but nefarious goings on around the subject of Icelandic archaeology perhaps just wasn't quite my kind of thrill.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    The Wanderer, Michael Ridpath. Fire & Ice #5, Iceland.... Very different storyline and characters. Deaths just keep occurring... Why?Descriptions of the old Icelandic sagas, history, nature, climate are interesting and well woven. The various academics involved past and currently in the history telling and digs are quite competitive, worried about their reputations and more so due to the filming of a documentary that is or isn’t what it seems.... Perhaps a few too many attempts by the writer to h The Wanderer, Michael Ridpath. Fire & Ice #5, Iceland.... Very different storyline and characters. Deaths just keep occurring... Why?Descriptions of the old Icelandic sagas, history, nature, climate are interesting and well woven. The various academics involved past and currently in the history telling and digs are quite competitive, worried about their reputations and more so due to the filming of a documentary that is or isn’t what it seems.... Perhaps a few too many attempts by the writer to have people couple up. Not really adding to the story. Or does it? Interesting the side story of a supposedly disgraced policeman that Magnus gets close to. Everything gets nicely tidied up. Or most things.... After this story ends the writer sets out some details about the history and then his enjoyment of Iceland and writing about it or stories set there. Very nicely done.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    Does no one tell the truth to the police anymore? Even if they’re innocent?! It seems that everyone wants to keep their secrets to themselves in this book, even if they think the information might relate to the murder of an Italian tourist. A camera crew, who are filming a documentary about Gudrid the Wanderer in Iceland, find her body outside a church where they’re filming. Magnus Jonson is in charge of the police investigation. I really enjoyed the references to the Icelandic Sagas (I’ve now o Does no one tell the truth to the police anymore? Even if they’re innocent?! It seems that everyone wants to keep their secrets to themselves in this book, even if they think the information might relate to the murder of an Italian tourist. A camera crew, who are filming a documentary about Gudrid the Wanderer in Iceland, find her body outside a church where they’re filming. Magnus Jonson is in charge of the police investigation. I really enjoyed the references to the Icelandic Sagas (I’ve now our a book of them on my Christmas list!), and Magnus seems to be a very nice police officer! Everyone else appears to just be looking out for themselves, to the detriment of everyone else. Great story though! This is the fifth in a series, I haven’t read the others, and I don’t think it actually matters story-wise. I would very much like to read the others though!!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Miki Jacobs

    I hadn't read anything by Michael Ridpath before, but having been to Iceland I was interested to read a book set there. Once I had got used to the strangely spelt place names it is a very good read. Magnus, the main character, has recently returned to Iceland after being in Boston for some time working in the Police there. A documentary about Gudrid the Wanderer is being filmed and the crew come across a dead body. At first it appears to be a random killing of a tourist, something unheard of in I I hadn't read anything by Michael Ridpath before, but having been to Iceland I was interested to read a book set there. Once I had got used to the strangely spelt place names it is a very good read. Magnus, the main character, has recently returned to Iceland after being in Boston for some time working in the Police there. A documentary about Gudrid the Wanderer is being filmed and the crew come across a dead body. At first it appears to be a random killing of a tourist, something unheard of in Iceland. But, after investigation, there are links to the documentary being filmed. Magnus has to find out why people are holding back on telling the truth, is it because they know who murdered the woman or is it something else? A good read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hazel Tyson

    This is the first one of Michael Ridpaths stories that I have read. From the sounds of things the others have been of a similar theme. The story involves a detective who has to figure out the link between three murders and the obvious question as to who did it?! The book is based in Iceland and Greenland and follows the Viking history story of gudrid and Erik the red. There is some confusion over some artefacts that were found but together with the murders, they aide the detective in helping to This is the first one of Michael Ridpaths stories that I have read. From the sounds of things the others have been of a similar theme. The story involves a detective who has to figure out the link between three murders and the obvious question as to who did it?! The book is based in Iceland and Greenland and follows the Viking history story of gudrid and Erik the red. There is some confusion over some artefacts that were found but together with the murders, they aide the detective in helping to find out who the murderer was. There is also another story lurking in the background which will lead quite nicely into a follow on book which I’m sure is the plan. Overall a good story, I will definitely be interested reading more of his future books.

  26. 5 out of 5

    A Book Lovers Diary

    I really enjoyed this and it brought back my love for crime books. It kept me hooked all the way through! I found it thrilling! I honestly though at the beginning I wouldn't really get in to it, but by page 20 I was completely hooked! The story just kept you guessing all the way to the end and the characters were all very good and fitted together well. I enjoyed the way it was written, it flowed really well. The only thing that stopped me giving this book a 5 star review was the ending. I didn't I really enjoyed this and it brought back my love for crime books. It kept me hooked all the way through! I found it thrilling! I honestly though at the beginning I wouldn't really get in to it, but by page 20 I was completely hooked! The story just kept you guessing all the way to the end and the characters were all very good and fitted together well. I enjoyed the way it was written, it flowed really well. The only thing that stopped me giving this book a 5 star review was the ending. I didn't really have much going for it and it went from being on the edge of your seat thrilling to, oh is that it! I would have loved to known more what happened with Thor! Overall this was a very good book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kerry Henderson

    A crew are filming a documentary on Gudrid the wanderer when they find the north of a young tourist. It soon becomes clear they know her but did they kill her? There's soon a second murder and Magnus Jonson is forced to look at everyone closely. Can he figure out their twisted paths and discover who the murderer is? This was an interesting story with a good plot. I found it a little slow at the start though. It got better and I was soon into the story and wanting more. The Icelandic names and pla A crew are filming a documentary on Gudrid the wanderer when they find the north of a young tourist. It soon becomes clear they know her but did they kill her? There's soon a second murder and Magnus Jonson is forced to look at everyone closely. Can he figure out their twisted paths and discover who the murderer is? This was an interesting story with a good plot. I found it a little slow at the start though. It got better and I was soon into the story and wanting more. The Icelandic names and places were a little tricky at times but I loved all the history that was being developed through the story. The ending was clever and I hadn't figured out who was guilty until really close to the end. A good thriller.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tony Wainaina

    I’ve been a long time fan of Michael Ridpath’s financial thrillers, and was cautiously intrigued with his foray into crime writing. I must admit that this dawned on me - that I was not reading another financial thriller about 2 to 3 chapters into the book, when confusion turned into disappointment followed by intrigue as I settled into the book. But I wasn’t disappointed. The storyline, the pace, the characters, the historical angle, All coalesced and flowed into an engaging read. The Tryggvi Th I’ve been a long time fan of Michael Ridpath’s financial thrillers, and was cautiously intrigued with his foray into crime writing. I must admit that this dawned on me - that I was not reading another financial thriller about 2 to 3 chapters into the book, when confusion turned into disappointment followed by intrigue as I settled into the book. But I wasn’t disappointed. The storyline, the pace, the characters, the historical angle, All coalesced and flowed into an engaging read. The Tryggvi Thór Gröndal angle left me hanging but I’m assuming this is a tee up for the next episode in the series...? I need to be eased gently through the transition from financial thriller to crime, hence my 3 star rating.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I love reading Ridpath's books because the land is so present. This time he is in Iceland as well as in Greenland. The fjords are so easy to picture as well as the glaciers and icebergs. The story is engaging. I always find myself not wanting to put his books down. This time the story involves the Viking woman Gudren and whether or not Christopher Columbus had ever been to Iceland. Wampum from Nantucket and a letter from Columbus to his brother Bartholomew are the questions here. The murders are I love reading Ridpath's books because the land is so present. This time he is in Iceland as well as in Greenland. The fjords are so easy to picture as well as the glaciers and icebergs. The story is engaging. I always find myself not wanting to put his books down. This time the story involves the Viking woman Gudren and whether or not Christopher Columbus had ever been to Iceland. Wampum from Nantucket and a letter from Columbus to his brother Bartholomew are the questions here. The murders are all connected and people are worried about academic reputations. Suffice it to say, that the ending is not very surprising, but the perpetrator does kill himself after confessing. If you have been to Iceland, you need to read his books!

  30. 5 out of 5

    TX Dee

    If you ever dreamed of visiting Iceland but never made it there in person, take a quick literary trip via "The Wanderer." This whodunnit weaves Icelandic history, archaeological mystery, and police procedurals together into a tale with as many suspects as there are herrings on a Swedish smorgasbörd. While, at times, I thought this book could have used a bit of tightening, it was overall entertaining and I didn't guess the culprit until near the end. There are actually several different mysteries If you ever dreamed of visiting Iceland but never made it there in person, take a quick literary trip via "The Wanderer." This whodunnit weaves Icelandic history, archaeological mystery, and police procedurals together into a tale with as many suspects as there are herrings on a Swedish smorgasbörd. While, at times, I thought this book could have used a bit of tightening, it was overall entertaining and I didn't guess the culprit until near the end. There are actually several different mysteries going on in this book with one still hanging in the background, perhaps to be more fully explored in the next book in the series. A nice solid entry in the Scandinavian "noir."

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