An international political thriller about destructive and tragic events in the Balkans
By Lars Ole Sauerberg
The international political thriller, as the designations indicates, presupposes relations between at least two countries or regions. In the case of Morten Hesseldahl’s third novel of this kind, the two locations are Denmark and the Balkans, more specifically Serbia.
When entering a flat in inner Copenhagen, a thief, Thomas, finds a man chained to an explosive device. The thief, who spontaneously offers the unfortunate man, a Serbian refugee, hospitality, is a talented but out-of-work designer of graphic novels, who pursues the dubious career of housebreaking according to a Robin Hood principle.
Somewhere else in Copenhagen a senior university lecturer in Balkan Studies is assisted by Iben, who graduated from the same high school in the Danish province as Thomas a dozen years ago, and who, like him, has been unable to settle with anything approaching permanency.
Thomas and Iben have been out of touch since their school days, but are now brought together by the presence of the Serbian and the nature of the elderly lecturer’s work, which is not as academically impartial and objective as might be expected. Actually, since his post-graduate work on the spot in Serbia he has been driven by a firm belief in Serbian nationalism. Secret preparations, with the lecturer in a central role, are being made for a Serbian demonstration of power on the Plain of the Blackbirds, the traditional rallying point for patriots of the region. At the same time a scheme of personal vengeance concerning the mysterious Serbian found by Thomas proves to be on collision course.
Morten Hessedahl’s thriller is an international political thriller turning destructive and tragic events in the Balkans into a suspenseful fictional narrative as well as a study of fanatic patriotism running amok.