World War II mystery proves deadly decades later

By Mary Foster

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Sept. 30 2011 5:28 a.m. MDT

"Operation Napoleon" (Minotaur Books), by Arnaldur Indridason: In the waning hours of World War II, a covert German bomber carrying both German and American officers crashes in the snow in Iceland. Little is known about the plane, or why enemy officers would be on the flight.

As the passengers slowly die, the plane disappears into a glacier, leaving its exact location a mystery.

Decades later, the plane is discovered, and an effort by the U.S. to remove it secretly begins.

That's the premise of Arnaldur Indridason's new novel, "Operation Napoleon," a thriller that plunges the reader into the fast-paced plot set in an exotic landscape of long dark nights and deadly weather.

In a land where the frigid winter climate is frequently a danger to residents, some young rescue volunteers on a training mission disappear after they break off from their group for a bit of joy riding on their new snowmobiles.

One of them calls his sister on the way to the glacier where the training exercise will be held. He's checking out his new phone and promises to call the next day. His sister, Kristin, hears from him again, but the call is garbled and she can just make out his panic-stricken words about armed soldiers and a plane.

Her brother and his friend unknowingly drove their snowmobiles close to the mission to salvage the plane and got too close to a killer determined to protect its secrecy at all costs.

Kristin is determined to find out what happened to her brother. But she suddenly finds herself on the run, and saving him has become secondary to trying to find out what's going on and dodging a pair of killers who are after her.

Indridason has won some of the biggest fiction awards in Scandinavia, including the Glass Key award for the best Nordic crime novel two years in a row. His series featuring detective Erlendur has been immensely popular there.

Like the late Stieg Larsson, Indridason has a knack for Nordic noir.

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