From previous reviews I mentally girded my loins for the read saying to myself, 'really do I have the staying power this?' Wow!
Ekbäck's word smithing builds a wonderful pictography of Sweden's forests and marshes of 1717, alive with all sorts of smells and sounds and colours, from the starkness of winter to the full light of the sun.
The people are real and palpable, with just that touch of distance, that aloneness, that reflects the hugeness of their physical surroundings. Yet intimacy comes from their stories, Those of Maija , Frederika, the priest, all of them as various revelations are made. Maija and her family, the last to come to Blackåsen Mountain are the catalysts, pivotal to the action that follows.
Murder, death, the priest, the fear of the Laplanders, the harsh winter, all escalate towards a culminating spiral of intrigue. Part mystery, part mystique encompassing political turmoil and the demands of the King.
The spirit of Ericksson the murdered man communicates with Frederika. Her dead grandmother seems to give her advice, or is it the memory of her grandmother. Sometimes the lines blur. Ericksson tells her to find her path. Frederika is an old woman in a child's body. She see hears and partly understands. Frederika, coming into her womanly body, coming into her gifts.
And then there's the wolves.
...and the secrets pile up and draw you further into this web of intrigue.
I needn't have worried. Wolf Winter grabbed me from the opening paragraph and never let me go until the end. Secrets and surprises, plots within plots, evil allowed to flourish--for the greater good...and a woman who is drawn to ask the questions and cannot let it be!
A remarkable novel.
A NetGalley ARC