Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Before The Frost

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Before The Frost

by Henning Mankell

Before The Frost by Henning Mankell
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2005, 383 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2006, 384 pages

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The Kurt Wallender series is set primarily in Mankell's native Sweden.  You'll find Sweden in the north of Europe between Finland and Norway. With a population of about 9 million, a landmass about the same size as California and a stable population, most people enjoy a good quality of life (albeit cold at some times of the year).  Sweden was a military power up until the 17th century (and long before - think Vikings!),  but has not participated in any war for almost 200 years.  More about Sweden.

The apolcalyptic plot that Wallander and his daughter uncover has its beginnings in the 1978 mass suicide of Jim Jones's followers.  Born in 1931, Jones founded the People's Temple church in 1953.  Following disturbing reports by people who had succeeded in leaving the cult, Jones moved to Guyana in South America; 800 of his congregation followed him.  In November 1978, US Congressman Leo Ryan (California) visited to investigate abuse claims.  A number of Temple members expressed a desire to leave but as they left for the airstrip Temple security guards fired on them, killing Ryan, three journalists and one Temple member.  Later that day Jones ordered his congregation to drink a cyanide-laced fruit drink, those who resisted were shot, strangled or injected with cyanide.  In all 913 died, including 276 children and Jones.  More about Jones.

This article is from the February 15, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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