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The Redbreast is a compelling novel of war, love, and betrayal that stretches from the waning days of the Russian Front to present-day Oslo, a city perched on top of a powder keg: a restive Muslim immigrant population and a resurgent neo-Nazi movement. The wonder of this epic is that it's written within the confines of a classic crime novel.
When Harry Hole, a police detective best described as a brilliant burnout, accidentally shoots one of the president's secret service agents during a rehearsal for an upcoming summit meeting, he believes it's the end of his career. However, the politics of the moment demand a hero, not a fall guy, and Harry is promoted to inspector instead. He begins to piece together disparate threads: threats of violence on Norway's upcoming Independence Day, the illegal importation of a Marklin rifle (a favored weapon of assassins), and a murder committed outside a pizza parlor frequented by neo-Nazis.
Much more than a mystery, The Redbreast delves deeply into Norway's involvement in World War II, exposing the face-saving myth of the resistance movement and the deep-seated anger of the Russian war veterans who served as scapegoats for the national shame. A nail-bitingly suspenseful read, Nesbø's American debut is not to be missed. (Spring 2008 Selection)