Kongeriket The Kingdom

The Kingdom #1

When Roy and Carl’s parents die suddenly, sixteen-year-old Roy is left as protector to his impulsive younger brother. But when Carl decides to travel the world in search of his fortune, Roy stays behind in their sleepy village, satisfied with his peaceful life as a mechanic.

Some years later, Carl returns with his charismatic new wife, Shannon – an architect. They are full of exciting plans to build a spa hotel on their family land. Carl wants not only to make the brothers rich but the rest of the village, too.

It’s only a matter of time before what begins as a jubilant homecoming sparks off a series of events that threaten to derail everything Roy holds dear, as long-buried family secrets begin to rise to the surface…

The Kingdom is a simmering and complex thriller full of unexpected twists, devastating family legacies and an ever growing body count.

“I read The Kingdom and couldn’t put it down…suspenseful…original…this one is special in every way.”
–Stephen King

A majestic oratorio of brotherly love that will transport the reader to hairpin turns where brakes will fail, and to waters ready to drag you under. Nesbø’s voice is powerful, and the road to atonement a rough rollercoaster. The Kingdom exceeded all my expectations.”
–Sofi Oksanen

A New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice”
Sunday Times “Best thriller books of the year 2020”
A Kirkus “Best Mystery & Thrillers of 2020
New York Times “16 New Books to Watch for in November”
A TIME  “The 42 Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2020”
A Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine “the Year’s Best Books”
A Read It Forward “Favorite Books of 2020”
A Read It Forward “Favorite Reads of November 2020”
An AARP “Notable Fall Releases”
A Mystery Tribune “14 Best Crime, Mystery, and Thriller Books of November”
A The Lineup “13 Scary Books We Can’t Wait to Read This Fall”
A Buzzfeed “13 New Thrillers That Will Make You Lose Sleep This Fall”
An Amazon Book Review “12 must-read mysteries and thrillers coming this fall”
A New York Post “The best new books to read this week”
A CrimeRead “The Best Reviewed Crime Novels of the Month: November 2020”
A CrimeRead “7 International Crime Novels You Should Read This November”


Longlisted for the CWA Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger Award UK 2021
Shortlisted for the Mofibo Awards (Best Crime & Suspense) Denmark 2021
Shortlisted for Lubimy Czytać’s Best Book of the Year (Best Crime Fiction) Poland 2020
Shortlisted for the Adlibris Awards (Best Crime Fiction) Sweden 2020
Close award list


  • “[The Kingdom has] echoes of such classic noir authors as Dorothy B. Hughes, James M. Cain, and Jim Thompson /…/ Nesbo brilliantly uses the insularity of Roy’s world, both internally and externally, to accentuate the Shakespearean inevitability of the impending tragedy.”

    Booklist *Starred Review*, US

  • “The latest stand-alone from the chronicler of Inspector Harry Hole puts all the murky, violent twists on brotherly love that you’d expect from this leading exponent of Nordic noir. /…/ Nesbø peels away the secrets surrounding Carl’s project, his backstory, and his connections to his old neighbors so methodically that most readers, like frogs in a gradually warming pan of water, will take quite a while to realize just how extensive, wholesale, and disturbing those secrets really are. The illusions of a family and its close-knit town constructed and demolished on a truly epic scale.”

    Kirkus Reviews *Starred Review*, US

  • “Jo Nesbo’s The Kingdom is a suspenseful bundle of Norwegian noir that’s almost impossible to put down. /…/ The Kingdom feels as much like a miniseries as a novel. You’re so curious about what the next episode will bring that even if you’ve stepped away from the book for a meal or a good night’s sleep, you feel like one of those 19th-century readers who stormed the New York Harbor, awaiting the arrival of a new installment of a Dickens novel. /…/ [A] generally mesmerizing novel, including its occasional wit. Such as a scene where a corpse is being disposed of in a grotesque manner while the car radio in the background blasts Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” It’s one of the great moments in modern crime fiction.”

    Washington Post, US

  • “Nesbo is always a great storyteller. The world he depicts is bleak and potentially depressing, but he presents it with relentless power. /…/ The Kingdom starts slowly, but one gets enthralled by Roy’s detailed narrative of his bloody family. /…/ the contrast between Roy’s calm narrative and the horrors that take place give this saga of intense love and betrayal enormous tension.”

    New York Journal of Books, US

  • “Nordic noir powerhouse Nesbø is back with a bleakly captivating stand-alone thriller exploring the tension that arises when morality clashes with familial duties. /…/ Nesbø’s slow-burn thriller is guaranteed to be in high demand. As the story unfolds, it builds in dread and depravity. The small-town atmosphere resembles a Peyton Place as envisioned in an unlikely collaboration between Raymond Chandler and Henrik Ibsen. The complex characters and twisting plot will keep readers turning the pages and eager to discuss.”

    Library Journal, US

  • The Kingdom is a complex and simmering standalone novel from the author of the popular Harry Hole detective series, and it dives deeply into the psyches of its characters. Twisty, violent, gripping, and very disturbing, it’s Nordic noir at its best.”

    Buzzfeed, US

  • “Jo Nesbo’s The Kingdom delivers shocks and surprises at every turn /…/ The Kingdom, like most Jo Nesbo novels, is rooted in crime, mystery and the exploration of long-held dark secrets. /…/ Vivid characters speak dialogue that is always pungent and convincing /…/ Mr. Nesbo explores the depths of the human psyche, along with more mundane foibles of a closed society. One of the more interesting questions, not resolved until the end, is just who will survive. ”

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, US

  • “Nesbø’s outstanding new standalone novel The Kingdom — a book that captivated me and swept me up in its gritty, tragic tale of love and betrayal. /…/ The Kingdom is a masterful work of rural noir, a story that will pluck you up from wherever you are sitting and bring you to a small (fictional) town nestled in the mountains of western Norway. Slow-burning yet propulsive, The Kingdom showcases a new side of Nesbø’s crime writing talent. With The Kingdom, he has delivered another outstanding work of crime fiction, a story that explores themes of family, love, and loyalty, all wrapped up in a gritty, slow-burning, rural noir package.”

    Crime by the Book, US

  • “Intricately plotted /…/ With The Kingdom, Nesbø builds a slow-burn thriller that leaps to myriad twists as he peels back the brothers’ strong relationship, which is partially built on terrible secrets and tinged with violence.”

    South Florida Sun-Sentinel, US

  • “Twisty /…/ Fans of classic noir such as Double Indemnity will be hooked.”

    Publishers Weekly, US

  • “Jo Nesbø is a virtuoso of the [Nordic noir] genre /…/ His latest crime thriller, The Kingdom, is set in a small mountain town, where a mechanic’s life is upended by the unexpected homecoming of his younger brother, his brother’s mysterious wife, and the unspooling of chilling family secrets. ”

    Avenue Magazine, US

  • “No one who reads The Kingdom will ever forget it or its author, who deserves a place at the summit of the must-read list of anyone who enjoys dark quality literature. I also would be remiss if I did not offer a tip of the fedora to Robert Ferguson for his fine and nuanced translation, which picks up on Nesbø’s wondrous turns of phrase and gifts them to his English-speaking readers.”

    BookReporter, US

  • “[The Kingdom,] with its steady accretion of sexual jealousies and betrayals, its shifting rivalries and alliances, has a firm grasp of its subject: the facade of civilization and the animal urges and survival strategies that lie beneath it.”

    Washington Examiner, US

  • The Kingdom is a long, sometimes lurid, deeply somber page-turner. It also might well be a masterwork of the genre.”

    Anniston Star, US

  • The Kingdom, much like a rollercoaster begins slowly as Nesbo sets the stage and explains the intricate web of connections all of the characters have with each other after living in a small town together for decades. Once all of the characters are in place, Nesbo flips the switch and sends readers hurdling along the track as he reveals the numerous crimes the brothers have committed and the motives that led them along their path.”

    Ridgefield Press, US

  • The Kingdom is a story of shame, lies, lust, grief, family, and love. It is an epic tale of contrasts as it sees people (and life) as both beautiful and harsh”

    The Nerd Daily, US

  • “Richly characterized, perfectly paced and plotted thriller.”

    The Lineup, US

  • “Top-Notch Nordic Noir.”

    AARP, US

  • “A sombre, brutally executed delight.”

    Sunday Times, UK

  • “This being Nesbo there is plenty of deception, death and partial decapitation to come. No Harry Hole this time, but still a sombre delight. There are shades of a Nordic Ripley, or maybe Virginia Andrews on aquavit. Choose your poison.”

    The Times, UK

  • “Jo Nesbo remains the king of Scandicrime /…/ The Kingdom is the Norwegian writer on assured form.”

    Financial Times, UK

  • “With all the best elements of a Shakespearean tragedy, this is a truly stunning novel. ”

    Sunday Express, UK

  • “The pace is uncharacteristically gentle, which is well-handled by Nesbo. But it all ends up as enjoyably over the top as ever.”

    Sunday Express, UK

  • “Echoes of Dreiser and Steinbeck. ”

    Sunday Times, UK

  • “Brilliantly chilling.”

    Best Magazine, UK

  • “Utterly compelling.”

    The Independent, UK

  • “Superbly written and chilling.”

    People, UK

  • “It slowly grips the reader in a mesmerising hold, revealing the betrayals and acts of violence in the brothers’ past, building tension page after page, with unexpected twists and building to a gut-wrenching finale. The Kingdom is a stunning novel from a storyteller with few equals.”


    Daily Express, UK

  • “Slowly grips the reader in a mesmerising hold, revealing the betrayals and acts of violence in the siblings’ past, building tension, blindsiding the reader with unexpected twists, and building to a gut-wrenching finale. A stunning novel.”

    Daily Mirror, UK

  • “Superbly written and magnificently chilling.”

    Sunday Mirror, UK

  • “As dark as a coal mine during a power cut. /…/ The Kingdom has more twists and turns than that Cú Chulainn rollercoaster down in Tayto Park that my daughter forced me to ride. Just as one crisis seems resolved, another one rears up on the following page, resulting in lost hours of sleep as you hasten towards the end. /…/ This is a masterfully crafted novel, which continually pulls the rug out from under you.”

    Hot Press, UK

  • “Chilling and page turning, the usual high standard.”

    NB Magazine, UK

  • “A touch of Lev Tolstoj, a touch of Agatha Christie, The Kingdom explores evil within the framework of family. And it’s once again a smash hit.

    La Repubblica, Italy

  • “A monumental thriller. The story of two brothers and a rivalry of biblical proportions. A masterpiece.”

    De Volkskrant, Netherlands

  • “Amazingly well written.”

    Algemeen Dagblad, Netherlands

  • “Nesbo takes his readers along on a whirlwind story in which both brothers increasingly challenge each other, and the word brotherly love is placed in a different light.”

    Het Parool, Netherlands

  • “A magnificent setting, superb plot, and characters that any screenwriter would kill for. Literally!”

    Gazet van Antwerpen, Belgium

  • “Nesbø skillfully shifts between events, gradually opening the door on the brothers’ childhood traumas, leaving the reader not knowing who to believe. /…/ [A] pacy thriller”

    Helsinging Sanomat, Finland

  • “Jo Nesbø makes a strong comeback with an outstanding thriller. /…/ Magnificently suspenseful. /…/ Just make sure that you’re sitting comfortably when you get started on Jo Nesbø’s literally excellent thriller. /…/ The Kingdom clearly shows why the Norwegian Jo Nesbø is one of the world’s most read crime writers.”


    Politiken, Denmark

  • “Jo Nesbø’s latest novel masterfully plays on the full emotional register. /…/ [A] solid, unbearably suspenseful and unceasingly fascinating psychoerotic suspense story.”


    Jyllandsposten, Denmark

  • “Thriller king Jo Nesbø reveals our most powerful urges. /…/ Nesbø is like the court jester who vilifies and misleads, and – like the skilled plot maker he is – wraps his characters and audience alike in a web of bluff and deception, facts and fictitious evidence.”


    Berlingske, Denmark

  • “I’ve now completely devoured the 600 pages long stand-alone The Kingdom. /…/ And it has been a pure pleasure! I’m gently pulled into the harsh Norwegian nature and the depiction of a sibling love that’s greater than everything else. The novel is full of captivating human fates and close-knit family ties that result in dramatic actions. /…/ The story never stops surprising – nothing is ever as it seems, and everything takes new turns over and over again.”

    Norran, Sweden

  • “A dark stand-alone thriller from an inspired author. /…/ A vertiginous journey into the mountains, beyond what’s shown in the tourist brochures.”

    Göteborgs-Posten, Sweden

  • [Jo Nesbø] is incredibly skilled, with an unfailing sense for pace. /…/ Thrilling.”

    Dagens Nyheter, Sweden

  • “Geez, [Nesbø] is good. /…/ The Kingdom isn’t so much a thriller as it is a darn good and nerve-racking novel. /…/ [It is a] Shakespearean drama, with allusions to both biblical motifs and Greek tragedies. It’s the dramaturgy, the prose, the swift dialogues, the portraits, the psychology and the depiction of the milieu that give the book momentum, not the thriller element, although that is also present. /…/ Psychologically playful and literarily elegant. /…/ One of Nesbø’s real literary strengths is that he knows how to hook his readers from early on with his prose, dramaturgy and plot. /…/ The suspense lies in the gradual and surprising clarification of the relationship between the brothers, executed with an elegant plot twist in which nothing is what we think it is. /…/ A terrifyingly good novel that no one but Nesbø could have written.”


    Dagbladet, Norway

  • “A story that proves why Jo Nesbø is in a class of his own in Norwegian thriller literature.”

    Dagsavisen, Norway

  • “[The Kingdom] balances between the literarily ambitious and the humble tall tale.”


    Adresseavisen, Norway

  • “It’s a wonderful King of the Hill story that our skilled author has concocted. /…/ A dark, powerful rural crime story about family secrets, fatal love, strong bonds and dramatic deaths. We love Harry Hole, but darn if our top crime writer doesn’t have even more to offer. Good stuff.”


    Bok365, Norway

Photo: Stian Broch Jo Nesbø
  • Crime
Reading material

Norwegian edition

English edition

Rights sold

Arab World, Masr El Arabia

Brazil, Record

Bulgaria, Emas

Canada, Penguin Random House

Catalonia, Proa

Croatia, Fokus

Czech Republic, Zlin

Denmark, Modtryk

Estonia, Varrak

Finland, Johnny Kniga

France, Gallimard

Germany, Ullstein

Greece, Metaixmio

Hungary, Animus

Iceland, Forlagid

Israel, Babel

Italy, Einaudi

Korea, Gimmyoung

Latvia, Zvaigzne ABC

Lithuania, Baltos Lankos

Netherlands, Cargo

North Macedonia, TRI

Norway, Aschehoug

Poland, Dolnoslaskie

Portugal, Dom Quixote

Romania, Trei

Russia, Azbooka

Serbia, Laguna

Slovakia, Ikar

Slovenia, Mladinska

Spain, Mondadori

Sweden, Albert Bonniers

Türkiye, Dogan Egmont

UK, Harvill

Ukraine, KM Books

US, Knopf

Film rights sold

Sweden, Filmlance / Redpoint

More From Jo Nesbø

The Kingdom

Harry Hole

Short Story Collection

Doctor Proctor

Blood on Snow