The year is 1793. More than a year has passed since the death of Gustav III of Sweden and the nation is ruled with an iron fist by lord of the realm Gustaf Adolf Reuterholm. In the wake of the old king’s passing, trust has turned into a sparse commodity. Paranoia and whispered conspiracies can be found at every corner.
A mutilated body is discovered in the malodorous waters of Fatburen Lake on the island of Södermalm. Missing both its legs and arms, the body has been disfigured beyond recognition. Though Cecil Winge of the Stockholm Police is himself marked for an early death by consumption, he takes on the case of solving the mystery of the Fatburen corpse. Cecil soon finds himself entangled in a web of dark secrets and boundless evil, a web with threads reaching all the way to the upper echelons of Stockholm society.
In his debut novel 1793, Niklas Natt och Dag paints a compelling portrait of late 18th century Stockholm. Through the eyes of the novel’s four narrators the powdered and painted veneer of the era is peeled back to reveal the frightful yet fascinating reality hidden beyond the dry facts of history texts. With one foot firmly planted in literary tradition and the other in hardboiled suspense literature, Natt och Dag has with 1793 created an entirely new genre of suggestive and realistic historical noir.
“This is a thrilling, unnerving, clever and beautiful story. Reading it is like giving a little gift to oneself.”
“An utterly impressive debut /…/ Brilliant milieu depictions, unsettling portrayals of society, and written with a perfect balance of period-specific expressions and contemporary storytelling techniques.”
“A brilliant novel /.../ 1793 is a page-turner/.../ [Niklas Natt och Dag] ruthlessly refuses to turn his gaze away from the dirt, drunkenness, filth, cynicism, poverty and disease. /.../ Now and then, in the middle of this disconsolation, loathsomeness, pitch-black, he skillfully tosses in scenes of melancholic tenderness that hit all the harder simply because they don’t seem to be calculated to give the reader hope, but rather accentuate life’s impossibility. If you give in to tears every so often, it’s nothing to be ashamed of – this novel is meant to hurt. And perhaps there is in Niklas Natt och Dag’s brilliant debut even a message – that which was born from this class society was something better: democracy, freedom of speech, human rights. It simply wasn’t better in the old days.”
“1793 is an all the way through beautifully phrased and powerful text that completely captivates the reader throughout the entire novel. It’s an entertaining and frightful story with a solid base in a reality lost to time. ”
“The set of characters is especially well portrayed, the 18th century milieus insightful and vivid. /…/ It’s rough, cold, cynical and sometimes bloody, but there’s also warmth and compassion. ”
“I’m quickly absorbed by the milieus and the prose. /…/ A very literary historical thriller. /…/ this is the best I’ve read since Tom Rob Smith’s great Stalin thriller, Child 44.”
- Niklas Natt och Dag
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Czech Republic, Argo
Estonia, Eesti Raamat
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Norway, Cappelen Damm
Poland, Sonia Draga
UK, John Murray
US, Atria (incl. Canada)