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Forty Days Without Shadow

An Arctic Thriller

by Olivier Truc

Forty Days Without Shadow by Olivier Truc
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2014, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2014, 480 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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FictionZeal

FictionZeal.com reviews Forty Days Without Shadow by Olivier Truc
Reindeer herders. Now, there’s a term you don’t hear every day. In Kautokeino, a village in central Lapland, there are still reindeer herders and Reindeer Police to keep peace between the herders and monitor how many reindeer are kept in each herd. The herders are Sámis who are an indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi. Some herders have brought their profession into modern day, even providing reindeer products and souvenirs to sightseers. But doing so costs more money and causes the herder to necessarily increase his herd. Aslak is different. He has a small herd and works with them much the same way it was generations ago. It is enough to provide for him and his wife in their tent in the wilderness. Mattis was more like Aslak until booze took over his brain. Then his herds became weak and wondered into other herds. It was always an issue in the spring for the Reindeer Police to negotiate and separate the herds.

Then, a Sámi drum was stolen from the museum. It was generations old. It was not only rare, but it was rumored to provide directions to a massive gold site. Soon thereafter, Mattis was found murdered. The Reindeer Police feel that the two incidents are connected. Rolf Brattsen, the Deputy Superintendent, insisted they should be treated as two separate incidents. Klemet Nango and Nina Nansen head up the investigation by the Reindeer Police, but they need to default to Brattsen and he eventually tells them to back off. Brattsen does not care for the Sámis nor their history.

This is Oliver Truc’s debut novel, and the storyline is truly fascinating. The prologue threw me a bit; I was looking for more of a tie in to it. Still it sets the reader up for a remarkable journey. I loved the characters of Klemet and Nina. At first they were at odds with each other. Klemet is a Sámi; Nina was a newcomer but a quick learner. It was very realistic to see these two eventually drawing together with respect for each other. It is not a love story, but the reader will fall in love with the people and even with this harsh and unforgiving locale. I rated Forty Days Without Shadow at 4 out of 5.
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Beyond the Book:
  Sami Religion

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