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Codex Regius: Thriller by Arnaldur…

Codex Regius: Thriller (2006)

by Arnaldur Indriðason

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A young Icelandic student heads to Copenhagen to study ancient Icelandic literature. In Copenhagen he meets a famous professor who takes him on a hunt to find the original manuscript of the 'Edda', the great ancient Icelandic literary work. The manuscript was stolen from the professor by a nazi book collector during the second world war. In a journey through northern Europe, they get into all sorts of troubles. It turns out that the nazi's themselves lost the manuscript in the bombing of Berlin, and in their attempt to find it they run into the son of the nazi-commander who stole the manuscript. He is also looking for the manuscript - and is prepared to go to great lengths to obtain it.
In the end they do manage to find the manuscript - but part of it is lost forever.
A nice, easy read with plenty of twists and turns, though many events seem a bit unlikely. Though the professor knows from the beginning that the nazi's are on his heels, he takes no precautions whatsoever and seems surprised by the fact that they keep turning up. The fragile manuscripts are handled rather carelessly and survive being buried for centuries and the bombing of Berlin, which seems somewhat unlikely. It's an interesting premise that the nazi's may have stolen ancient manuscripts, but the idea could have been worked out better and more realistically.
The book is represented as based on fact, but the only 'fact' about the whole story is that part of the Edda-manuscript is indeed missing, all the surrounding story is made up, so I found the 'fact' part a bit disappointing - I was expecting it to be more factual and less fantasy.
Not a bad read, but not great either - I'll be abandoning the book in a little free library. ( )
  Britt84 | Mar 29, 2016 |
It was a nice read. Not very spectacular though. I find it was more of a detective than a thriller.
A quiet book, story lines were clear, not difficult at all to follow. Having read one or two of this authors other books, I had expected more action, more suspension I guess.
The setting, some 15 years after WWII was nice, but somehow I found the interaction between former enemies not very believable.
A professor in the Old Icelandic, living and teaching in Kopenhagen, Denmark, was more or less the keeper of an old Icelandic manuscript. An Icelandic student comes to Kopenhagen to learn from him and to continue his studies of Old Icelandic manuscripts.
The manuscript was stolen in the last days of the war, but the professor kept it quiet and started to make a replica. He and his student travel through Europe in search of that manuscript. They want to take it to Denmark again.
During their travel several things happen, and they get into the matter deeper and deeper. They are wanted for assault and murder in East Germany, but they get out of the country without too much trouble. It went all too easy, in my opinion. Or wasn't the wall/ iron curtain not built yet?
Yes, the main character, the professor, dies in the end of the book, but the story had a good end after all. Several years later the student accomplishes the task the professor had given himself, but due to his untimely death could not finish.
A bit disappointing. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
The King’s Book is written from the perspective of Valdemar, a young student who moves from Iceland to Kopenhagen in 1955 to study old Icelandic languages. He meets his (Icelandic) professor who came highly recommended. However, he turns out to be a drunk. The professor is passionate about Icelandic manuscripts and believes that they should be, and will be, returned to Iceland one day, where they belong.

Slowly it becomes clear to Valdemar that the professor is in trouble and is searching desperately for the most important manuscript of the Icelandic people, the Codex Regius, the Edda. The Edda is the base of Icelandic identity, and the Codex Regius is the oldest version. The search of the professor is strange however, because the Codex was never lost… or was it? And it turns out not only Valdemar and the professor are looking for the Codex, and the other party does not shun violence.

The King’s Book was a book that I greatly enjoyed reading. I find that the story telling style of Scandinavian writers is different than that of American or British writers, and I like it. A lot of background information is given, though since the book was originally written in Icelandic, it does include a lot of Icelandic hero’s. That does enable the reader to learn about Icelandic history. I for one thing did not know that Iceland only became independant from Denmark in 1944. Some background of the struggle for independance and the pride of the Icelandic people is given in the book.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that I could see some of the bad things coming from a mile away, and even though they were logical and necessary for the story, I didn’t like to see bad things happen to the professor and Valdemar, or the manuscript.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes history and suspence, it is a good read and Iceland is a nice subject (instead of the millionth book on Da Vinci or Christianity in this genre). ( )
  divinenanny | Dec 1, 2008 |
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Högni lachte toen zij zijn hart eruit sneden,
de kloeke wondensmid, klagen kwam niet in hem op;
bloedend legden ze het op een schaal, brachten het Gunnar.

Uit: Edda, De ballade van Atli
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De oude boer hoorde door het geraas van de storm heen een bons en hij wist dat hij op de planken van de kist was gestuit.
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Original title: Konungsbók.
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