A multilayered international thrill ride at breakneck pace, reminiscent of The Rule of Four
The Arctic, 1897: Nils Strindberg crashes his hydrogen balloon during the mysterious Andrée Expedition to the North Pole.
In this international bestseller, each of these fascinating strands weaves together to create a mind-blowing cross-genre thriller that includes arctic explorers, a secret railroad network, Norse mythology, Nazis, and ancient symbols—and a shocking secret that’s been hidden for centuries.
Watch a Video
The light was good in the kitchen. The thin linen of the curtains would work as a filter, perfect for the type of pictures she wanted to take. A bit dreamy, sitting at the kitchen table, Erik Hall with his heavy head leaning on one hand. Personal, that was what the intern had said, after all.
The photographer worked quietly, and for a long time the only sound was of her breathing as she changed position and the rhythmic click from the camera's shutter.
"You seem to know what you're doing, anyway," said the diver.
She gave him a quick smile, just a few more pictures. . . .
"Hey. … There's actually something I could tell you that would change this whole story."
"Mmhmm," she mumbled, clicking one last time.
"You seem to be a girl who doesn't give it away. You can keep a secret, I mean."
She put the cap on the lens and let the camera fall down and hang against her stomach.
"So what is it, then?"
"Well, maybe it's kind of a bit silly, but … there were a few things down there in the mine that I didn't. . . ."
The diver looked away from her, out through the kitchen window toward the gravel path and the fence around the yard.
"You know, I was in quite a bit of shock when I came up, so I threw everything down into one of my bags. And the police … when I came back home they had just put the bags outside my door. They hadn't opened them, I think, because, you know, the things were still there. They haven't asked any questions, either, and I … it just didn't occur to me to tell them. It felt so strange to say something, you know, several days later."
"Oh? Things like those old newspapers that the police found down in the mine, or what?"
"Aha … now it's a little more exciting, huh?"
He looked at her in silence for a long time, and finally she had to look away.
"Wait a second."
The diver got up and disappeared out into the hall. When he came back a few minutes later, he was carrying something that looked like a wine-colored terrycloth towel.
He placed the bundle on the kitchen table and unrolled it slowly. Deep inside the red lay a bone-white cross with an eye: a shape the photographer immediately recognized.
"That's one of those ankh-crosses, right?" she said.
Then she wrinkled her forehead.
"But isn't it made of plastic?"
"Plastic? No, no. . . ." said Erik Hall.
He held it out to her so that she could feel it. Well, wasn't it made of plastic? Very light, cast in one piece, like a cheap toy.
"The key to the underworld, I've read," he said.
"In Egypt, the ankh was also called Osiris' key, the key to the underworld. It's all over the internet, if you just look."
The photographer bit her lip.
"You're saying that that plastic ankh was down in the mine?"
"It's not a plastic ankh!" the diver hissed. "I found it down there; he was still holding it in his hands."
She looked from the diver to the ankh and back again.
"So that's your secret?"
She noticed that the diver swallowed and that his eyes somehow became shinier.
"Yes, isn't it fantastic?" said the photographer.
But she could hear that this didn't sound very convincing, and the diver didn't seem to think so, either:
"I don't get you journalists. This lends a whole new dimension to everything. What was the ankh doing down there, right?" He placed the object on the towel again and quickly began to wrap it up.
"I will fucking kill you if you say anything about this."
At first the photographer wasn't really sure if she'd heard correctly, but then came a silence that was so uncomfortable that she rushed to pack up.
"It seems like a cool job, though," the diver ventured when they had gone out to the sun porch.
"Indeed," said the photographer.
She put on her tennis shoes and felt in her jacket to find her car keys.
"Hey—" he began.
The photographer turned around in the doorway.
"Couldn't we get together in town sometime, just you and me?"
She smiled quickly, without answering.
Not until she had gotten outside the gate to the fence around the yard did she notice that her hand was trembling as she went to unlock the car. But on her way home, when she called the intern, she still couldn't help telling him about the diver's latest discovery.
"...An intriguing thrill ride...a combination of the secrets and symbols of Dan Brown with the adventures of Jules Verne...unlike anything else you'll read this year."
“An audacious adventure novel a la Jules Verne steeped in Norse mythology and Nazi esotericism.”
—Publishers Weekly — Publishers Weekly
"In this breathtaking debut novel, lavish with historic detail and colorful panorama, Jan Wallentin brilliantly evokes the mysterious, underwater, middle-earth worlds of Jules Verne, interwoven with the pulse-pounding, countdown thrillers of James Bond. STRINDBERG'S STAR is a tale of eternal evil - with two diabolical "fathers," more deeply disturbed than Darth Vader, pulling the hidden strings.”
—Katherine Neville, author of THE EIGHT and THE FIRE — Katherine Neville
“Evil Nazi schemes, Norse mythology, Pompeian legend and a balloon expedition to the North Pole are narrative bedfellows in this sprawling, fanciful tale…it scores as a larkishly offbeat alternative to the dour mysteries Swedes are known for.”
—Kirkus — Kirkus
“All the elements of a Dan Brown thriller…A perfect vacation read.”
—Booklist — Booklist
To keep up-to-date, input your email address, and we will contact you on publication
Please alert me via email when: