Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

Ashes to Dust

3 Ashes to DustThóra Guðmundsdóttir series (book 3)

This book is included in The Icelanders Cometh crowdfunding campaign run by the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign to raise money for UK libraries to spend on titles translated into English by Icelandic authors to mark World Book Night and UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day in 2016.


Thóra peered at the floor, but couldn’t see anything that could have frightened Markus that much, only three mounds of dust. She moved the light of her torch over them. It took her some time to realise what she was seeing – and then it was all she could do not to let the torch slip from her hand. ‘Good God,’ she said. She ran the light over the three faces, one after another. Sunken cheeks, empty eye-sockets, gaping mouths; they reminded her of photographs of mummies she’d once seen in National Geographic. ‘Who are these people?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Markus …

Bodies are discovered in one of the excavated houses at a volcanic tourist attraction dubbed ‘The Pompeii of the North’.

Markus Magnusson, who was only a teenager when the volcano erupted, falls under suspicion and hires attorney Thóra Guðmundsdóttir to defend him – but when his childhood sweetheart is murdered his case starts to look more difficult, and the locals seem oddly reluctant to back him up …

The third crime novel from international bestseller Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, and the third featuring her popular heroine Thóra Guðmundsdóttir, Ashes to Dust is tense, taut and terrifying.


‘Iceland’s answer to Stieg Larsson.’ Daily Telegraph

‘A chilling read, enhanced by Sigurðardóttir’s taut plotting, realistic characters, and dry humour.’ Crime Books of the Year, Metro

‘A gripping thriller with enough mystery and horror to keep you sitting on the edge of your seat while you try to work out what happened.’ Peter Robinson

‘Brilliantly plotted and chilling.’ Daily Mirror