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CAGE by Lilja Sigurðardóttir
Having previously read Book 1, SNARE, in the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy by Icelandic writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir, I was looking forward to returning to the series (albeit after missing out on Book 2, TRAP ). But I soon dived in and it was like returning to visit some rather threatening old friends!
CAGE concludes the series, which has been described by the Sunday Express as ‘a searing portrait of the less salubrious parts of the Icelandic psyche as well as a riveting thrller.’ Published with Orenda Books, CAGE is an edge-of-your seat, tense read that needs focus folks, lots of focus.
Agla, having been imprisoned for financial crimes, is now due for supervised release. Agla has struggled in prison with many areas of her life, in particular her sexuality. She is powerful and is a tough, kick-ass wheeler and dealer, but it is with love that Agla has conflict. Her passion for her ex-lover, Sonja, is still evident and as Agla tries to move on, tries to forget, there are obstacles in her way. Agla was never going to have an easy path.
Before her release Agla has a visitor, a business person with a proposition for her. A global fraudulent scam has been identified and this gentleman, in conjunction with the consortium he represents, are hoping that Agla will work for them, uncovering the dark secrets of these illegal dealings. Agla has limited computer access in jail, so she contacts an old adversary, a journalist, Maria, in the hope that they can expose the truth together. But Maria has her own issues. Having fallen from grace, due to previous activities linked to Agla, Maria is slow to help. When she realises there is a story, a huge fraud on an international scale, linked to a man she distrusts, Maria is all in. But Agla and Maria are about to find themselves deep in the underbelly of the very shady side of big business, with the very merciless Ingimar at it’s core.
Ingimar is rather a fascinating character who is involved in all sorts of dodgy behaviour but Ingimar has a weak link, one that could possibly be enough to bring him and his empire collapsing in around him.
Maria soon finds herself in very serious situations, as the full scale of this operation comes to light. With her life on the line, Maria is determined to get to the bottom of the corruption. But at what personal cost?
Agla, meanwhile, works the financial side but, at times, is somewhat distracted by activities in her private life. Agla comes into contact with the insidious side of the drugs industry and when her old lover, Sonja, makes a brief appearance on the scene from London, Agla makes some catastrophic discoveries. Now I would have liked to have seen a little more of Sonja, as I do think she is a great character but her role in CAGE is off to one side a little, a separate strand.
SNARE, TRAP and CAGE are excellent titles for such an explosive trilogy. Each character has been snared by this world that they now inhabit and trapped in a symbolic cage that is closing in tighter as their worlds start to implode. There are numerous threads running through this tale from the first book onwards and Lilja Sigurdardóttir skillfully weaves them all together into a rather unpredictable ending.
Of course, also, I must not forget to mention the translation by Quentin Bates which is, as ever, seamless. The atmosphere is captured wonderfully, creating a looking glass into a world that many readers would otherwise not have access to.
The Reykjavik Noir Trilogy is a series that I recommend you read as a complete package. The characterization is spot-on, in all cases capturing perfectly the essence of all the individual players. The plot is complex with many strands so, as mentioned earlier, you do need your wits about you at all times. There are some rather sordid and shocking scenes that are not for the faint of heart but certainly add to the overall ominous nature of the story.
Immerse yourself in that ‘Icelandic Psyche’ and travel deep into it’s dark-side….discover where it will take you.
(c) Swirl and Thread
Order your copy online here.