The first novel in a thrilling Norwegian historical trilogy - by the author of The Sixteen Trees of the Somme
The first in a rich historical trilogy that draws on legend, by the author of Norwegian Wood and The Sixteen Trees of the Somme.
Norway, 1880. In the secluded village of Butangen at the end of the valley, headstrong Astrid dreams of a life beyond marriage, hard work and children. And then Pastor Kai Schweigaard comes into her life, taking over the 700-year-old stave church with its carvings of pagan deities. The two church bells were forged by her forefather in the sixteenth century, in memory of conjoined sisters Halfrid and Gunhild Hekne, and are said to have supernatural powers. But now the pastor wants to tear it down, to replace it with a modern, larger church. Though Astrid is drawn to him, this may be a provocation too far.
Talented architecture student Gerhard Schonauer arrives from Dresden to oversee the removal of the church and its reconstruction in the German city. Everything about elegant Schonauer is so different, so cosmopolitan. Astrid must make a choice: for her homeland and the pastor, or for a daunting and uncertain future in Germany.
Then the bells begin to toll . . .
Translated from the Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin
Lars Mytting's historical novel is captivating and engaging . . . With his powerful narrative style, intertwined story and detailed knowledge of carpentry, fishing and stave churches, there is reason to believe that this time he will again reach many many readers. - Dagbladet
Magnificent historical novel - Adresseavisen
Lars Mytting, a novelist and journalist, was born in Favang, Norway, in 1968. His novel Svom med dem som drukner (published in English as The Sixteen Trees of the Somme) was awarded the Norwegian National Booksellers' Award and has been bought for film. Norwegian Wood has become an international bestseller, and was the Bookseller Industry Awards Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2016. His novel The Bell in the Lake was a number one bestseller in Norway and nominated for the Norwegian National Bookseller's Award 2018.