I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardóttir on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part. My review also coincides with Orentober created by Kelly and Danielle.
Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Úrsula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.
But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And why has the death of her father in police custody so many years earlier reared its head again?
As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witch-like cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones, and the stakes are raised ever higher…
I was a huge fan of the Reykjavik Noir trilogy by Lilja Sigurðardóttir, so I was really excited to see what she was planning to write next. In Betrayal, Úrsula has just accepted a high profile role in government and hopes to make positive changes in the law to help benefit asylum seekers in Iceland. It is a cause she is hugely passionate about and has spent much of her time abroad helping vulnerable people. Úrsula also promises to help a mother, whose daughter was raped by a police officer. Because of his position, the case was allowed to be brushed under the carpet. The girl’s mother has been fighting for justice ever since. But as Úrsula gets involved in the murky world of politics, she soon begins to realise how dangerous the world she has stepped foot it in is.
What Betrayal does, as has all of Lilja Sigurðardóttir books, is that it captures your interest right from the first page and Lilja’s writing makes it very hard to put down. It has made her one of my favourite writers, and I bumped this book right to the top of my TBR pile. The chapters are short and snappy, and it’s the kind of book where you’ll think, I’ll just read one more when you get to the end of one. Before you know it, you’ve devoured the entire novel.
I really liked Úrsula. You can see how passionate she is about the causes that she believes in and how she is determined to make positive changes. But politics is a dangerous business. Úrsula soon finds that out when it appears that someone is stalking her. Just as she is determined to bring about change, there are people out there who are committed to making sure that she fails. There is also a vulnerable side to her, which made her feel very human. She has struggled recently to bond with her family and finds that she loves her dog more than she loves her husband.
Another character who I liked was Stella. Stella works at the ministry as a cleaner and is often in close proximity to Úrsula. Stella soon seizes an opportunity when a journalist offers her money to steal from Úrsula’s rubbish. Lilja Sigurðardóttir does a brilliant job here of raising the tension. Although Stella was making the wrong decisions, I did feel her, but I kept thinking that at any moment she was going to be discovered. I did think though if she spoke to Úrsula more then Úrsula would try to help her and would understand more than most the position Stella is in.
The plot races ahead and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. A lot starts to happen, especially when Úrsula starts to receive threats, which puts her family’s security at risk. This is where the character Gunnar comes in, who takes on the role of her driver and bodyguard. Again, he is a character committed to his job, and he is more than willing to put himself in harm’s way to protect Úrsula.
The plot of Betrayal is exciting and fast-paced. I became totally immersed in the story, which has been expertly translated by Quentin Bates. With a cast of highly intriguing characters, this is a book I’d highly recommend.
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication date: 1st July 2020 (kindle) 1st October 2020 (paperback)
Print length: 276 pages
Betrayal is available to buy:
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