The master of Scandinavian crime fiction spins a dark tale of passion and deceit set during World War I: “A memorable and shocking psychological study” (Publishers Weekly).
October, 1914. Swedish naval officer Lars Tobiasson-Svartman is charged with a secret mission to take depth readings around the Stockholm archipelago. In the course of his work, he lands on the rocky isle of Halsskär. It seems utterly inhabitable, yet Halsskär is home to the young widow Sara Fredrika. Lars soon learns that Sara, living in near-total isolation, is unaware that the world is at war.
A man of control and precision, Lars is overwhelmed by his attraction to the half-wild, illiterate Sara, a total contrast to his reserved, elegant wife. Giving in to the worst of his impulses, Lars turns into a far more dangerous man—one ready to trade in lies and even death to get closer to the lonely woman without losing hold of his wife. All thoughts of shame, fidelity, and duty are swept to sea as he struggles to maintain his parallel lives, with devastating consequences for the women who love him.
Henning Mankell, author of the internationally bestselling Kurt Wallander Mysteries and the critically acclaimed Chronicler of the Winds, once again proves himself a master of the novel with this arresting, disquieting story of obsession.