After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
Today i welcome Lilja to my blog where she tells us a little about the icelandic myth – the elves!
What´s with the elves?
This title is a line from ‘Thrymskviða’, one of the poems from the Codex Regius of the elder Edda that explains pre-Christian Nordic mythology and beliefs. The line is a greeting from Thrymur, who has stolen Thor’s hammer and demands Freyja as a wife in return. He asks: What´s with the gods, what´s with the elves?’, meaning: what is all the commotion about? The poem is really entertaining, as Thor and Loki dress up in drag and go get the hammer back.
A few years back a survey was made in Iceland to check if people still believed in our legendary elves. It turns out the majority of Icelanders do. The result of the survey hit the international media and since, Icelanders abroad are very often asked if they really believe in them.
Our Icelandic elves look nothing like the garden gnomes presented in some European literature. Our elves look exactly like us. They are easily confused with people. So nobody can say for sure that they have never met an elf. There are incidents of people falling in love with them and many stories warn people of this, as the elves are quite hot-blooded and revengeful if they are crossed or betrayed. But usually they are helpful and good-natured.*
I believe in them as part of our history and as a kind of nature spirit that keeps people from destroying certain parts of our unique nature. So yes. I do believe in elves. And I use them, too. In my books.
I have a scene with elves in Snare. You didn´t notice, did you? Typical elves, sneaking about like that! But I´ll explain:
The Icelandic elves move house on New Year’s Eve. And just like people, when they move house they take all their belongings with them. Needless to say that the belongings of the elves are much nicer than anything people can own and they seem to have endless amounts of gold, money, beautiful textiles and art. So, if you sit on a crossroads in Iceland on New Year’s Eve you will meet elves, travelling with all their belongings to their new house. And they cannot get past you. So they will try to tempt you to stand up and move. They will offer gold, love, nice food, everything that your heart desires. But it is extremely important that you don´t accept anything and that you don´t speak. If you do, you will go mad. If you sit still, and resist all the temptation, the elves will finally give up and go, but leave all their belongings behind. So then you are rich!
If you compare this old tale with an incident in Snare, where the banker Agla is walking home drunk on New Year’s Eve, and takes a rest where two walking paths in the park cross, you can see the elves. But it is difficult to know for sure if the ones that come to her and tell her to stand up so she doesn´t fall asleep in the snow are elves or just concerned people coming from a costume party. That’s exactly how the elves are, you cannot ever be sure.
*Iceland in fact has two races of elves: Elves and Hidden People. Discussions on the differences between the two can become heated.
All about Lilja
Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.
Where to find Lilja