Ashes To Dust by Yrsa SigurdardottirAshes To Dust by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Ashes To Dust

byYrsa Sigurdardottir

Paperback | November 8, 2011

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Thóra peered at the floor, but couldn't see anything that could have frightened Markús that much, only three mounds of dust. She moved the light of her torch over them. It took her some time to realize what she was seeing-- and then it was all she could do not to let the torch slip from her hand. 'Good God,' she said. She ran the light over the three faces, one after another. Sunken cheeks, empty eye-sockets, gaping mouths; they reminded her of photographs of mummies she'd once seen in National Geographic. 'Who are these people?'
'I don't know,' said Markús...

Bodies are discovered in one of the excavated houses at a volcanic tourist attraction dubbed 'The Pompeii of the North'.

Markús Magnússon, who was only a teenager when the volcano erupted, falls under suspicion and hires attorney Thóra Gudmundsdottir to defend him - but when his childhood sweetheart is murdered his case starts to look more difficult, and the locals seem oddly reluctant to back him up..

The third crime novel from international bestseller Yrsa Sigurdardottir, and the third featuring her popular heroine Thora, ASHES TO DUST is tense, taut and terrifying.

'well-written, pacey and wonderfully atmospheric.' Guardian on MY SOUL TO TAKE
Yrsa Sigurdardottir works as a civil engineer and lives in Reykjavik. All her adult novels have been European bestsellers.
Title:Ashes To DustFormat:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 8.75 × 6.35 × 0.68 inPublished:November 8, 2011Publisher:HodderLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1444700073

ISBN - 13:9781444700077

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good but flawed story I bought this book on a whim a few months ago. I had read the two first Sigurdardottir's book and quite liked them (the second one is really scary!), so I was eager to read another one. The story is really interesting, and is set on a part of Iceland not that known, the Vestmannaeyjar or Vestmann Islands, on the south-west of the country. The advocate Þóra Guðmundsdóttir is on the Island because her client wants to get to the basement of his childhood house before an archeological teams get there. There was a volcanic eruption in 1973 and the house had been cover in ashes for ages, but the basement can now be access and Markús Magnússon doesn't want anyone to get there before him. He makes a macabre discovery and Þóra must find what happened the night of the eruption to make sure he is not accused of an horrible crime. But the inhabitants of the island aren't eager to help her find the truth. The story is a bit slow to develop, and some part could have been cut to make a lighter read. The intrigue is interesting, but gets thin by moments. Some of the characters are believable, but others act a bit irrationnaly, to a point where it isn't believable anymore. But it is a good read nonetheless and I wanted to find out what had happened. The historic elements are well implemented and the revelations came on a good pace. My biggest complaint is on the ending, that was good, but a bit anticlimatic. I recommend this book to reader who like Indriansson books, it's a bit in the same historic/mystery vibe in Iceland. It's an easy read, and I didn't found anything wrong with the quality of the English translation. Not the best book of the author, but I fun read nonetheless.
Date published: 2017-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great protagonist 3.5/5 I've been reading a number of Nordic mystery/thriller authors lately, but Yrsa Sigurdardottir was the first Icelandic author I've read. Indeed, she is known as 'Iceland's Crime Queen.' Yrsa's recurring character is lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir. In Ashes to Dust, the third book in the series, Thora is employed by a former resident of Heimaey Island in The Westman Islands. This fishing village was covered by a volcanic eruption in 1973 and only now (2007) is her client's former childhood home being uncovered. The government owns the houses and contents, but Markus insists on going to the basement ahead of the archaeologists to recover a box, before he signs off on the waiver. (I found the setting fascinating and ended up reading all about the Westman Islands online) He swears he has no idea what's in the box - a friend left it in the basement and she is the one who desperately wants it back he says. But when the archaeologists go down after him, what they discover changes the game - three bodies nicely laid out. And the box? It contains a head. Yes, a head. Thora's case has taken a completely different turn. Thora is a wonderfully different protagonist. She is a grandmother with a young child still at home, divorced, hoping that her long distance romance will work out. She's very, very determined and undertakes to prove her client's innocence. I found this different from North American practices - the lawyer pursuing clues and the truth rather than an investigator. I loved that she took along her secretary - again another character that's a square peg in a round hole. Interspersed with Thora's investigations are chapters from other characters that we know must somehow be related to the case. Sigurdardottir has created a winding plot that takes us down many avenues, exploring familial relationships as well as those of a small close knit village. There are no great surprises (many of the clues are plainly laid out) and some of the story seems superfluous. At times, I wanted to hurry the tellin along - it seemed it could have been done in about eighty pages less. I did enjoy the descriptions of Iceland's culture, lifestyle and scenery. But, Ashes to Dust felt a little wooden in parts. I'm not sure if this is in the original text or a result of the translation. It was an entertaining tale, but comparisons to Steig Larsson may be a bit too ambitious.
Date published: 2012-04-11

Editorial Reviews

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