Eric Wright's Reviews > Operation Napoleon

Operation Napoleon by Arnaldur Indriðason
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Jun 13, 2011

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bookshelves: fiction, local-library
Read in June, 2011

Travelling to distant locations through authors is one of the reasons I enjoy reading. Operation Napoleon took me to Iceland, I place I have never been, nor will I be able to visit. Indridason exposed me to the country and their attitudes towards Americans, a rather astounding revelation. Who knew that Americans flexed their muscles and ran rather roughshod over Icelanders.

Operation Napoleon tells the story of a German bomber that crashed on the Vatnajokull glacier, the largest in Europe, during the closing days of the war, 1945. We learn that it contained both German and American officers. What did it carry? A bomb? A terrible disease. A high ranking German officer travelling to the US to broker a treaty targetting Russia? A hord of Jewish gold?

The plane is swallowed up in the storms of that winter. Americans trying for decades to find it. Finally, it appears on a surveillance photo in mid 1999. The US mounts a huge clandestine operation, without telling Iceland, to recover it and take it away. Two young Icelanders become involved and pay with their lives. They contact the sister of one, Kristin who will not rest until she finds out the truth.

We have in in microcosm the feelings of a small nation for the cavalier way they are treated by America and their armed forces, almost as if they are a client state. For this view the book is worth reading although some of the heroics of Kristin seem a bit far fetched.

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