ON AN isolated volcanic plateau in Iceland’s Westman Islands, surrounded by open ocean and populated ordinarily by only seabirds and sheep, four childhood friends reunite.
It’s a bittersweet time for the group, gathered now to honour a fifth member of their teenage-years posse, Katla, killed at the age of 20 exactly a decade earlier while spending a quiet weekend at her family’s wilderness cabin.
Katla’s younger brother Dagur is finally taking steps to overcome the horrendous event and the cascade of misery it triggered. The siblings’ father, accused of having murdered Katla, committed suicide while in custody and their mother, distraught, slipped further and further into malaise until Dagur had no choice but to admit her to a care home, where she continues to languish.
Now living alone, Dagur welcomes the chance to spend a few days away with Benedikt, Klara and Alexandra – three people with whom he grew up in a small satellite town on the fringe of Reykjavík.
It’s been 10 years since Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir lost her own daughter, Dimma, and eight years since her husband, Jón, died. Hulda’s career has stalled, leaving her trapped in a too-small flat barely paid for by a meagre mid-level police salary, and her prospects of gaining a much-needed promotion are all but non-existent.
Tragedy for the reminiscing foursome brings an unexpected change of fortune for Hulda, however, when a body is found below an intimidatingly sheer cliff near their holiday cottage.
As the senior officer on duty when the incident is logged she has first call on the case. Could this be an opportunity for Hulda to demonstrate her true ability at last?
This is the second book in Ragnar Jónasson’s Hidden Iceland trilogy: a prequel set a quarter of a century before The Darkness. The final instalment is scheduled for release next year.