The Ice Star|
New Nordic Noir
Aarluuk Press (Independently published), 2017, PB, 300 pp, Amazon $7.99, Kindle $.99
At the center of this novel is a geopolitical battle between Denmark and Canada over ownership of Greenland, and eventually the North Pole. With global warming and ice melt, the North Pole can potentially be easily accessed, allowing travel lanes and drilling. Peterson writes "In 2017, Canada and Denmark are both allies and players in the great stakes game of Artic Sovereignty".
The heart of the novel is Greenland and Konstabel Fenna Brongaard, a member of the Sirius Sledge Patrol. Fenna is the first female officer in this elite Special Forces unit within the Danish military. The Sledge Patrol is led by dog teams in harsh conditions maintaining Danish sovereignty in Northeast Greenland. Fenna, a rookie, and her Oversergent Mikael Gregersen are sent out on a top secret mission to retrieve a satellite they believe was dropped by the Chinese. During the mission they and their dogs go through blizzard conditions and the loss of a dog. The relationship between Fenna and Mikael is funny, sarcastic and Peterson delivers wonderful insight into what it is like to take care of the dogs, providing extra seal blubber during harsh times, to the funny dialogue and camaraderie when hunkering down with a partner in a frozen tent.
The novel is suspenseful and violent from the beginning. Not realizing that there are other players searching for the satellite, Mikael and Fenna are ambushed. Fenna is kidnapped, but not before sending Dina, a Greenland woman she happens upon, away with her sledge and the satellite. Fenna is framed for Mikael's death and has to save herself over and over from English mercenary, Brongaard whose job it is to find the satellite and eliminate witnesses. Her many escapes are usually luck and sometimes she has help. During the novel it becomes evident that Fenna is perhaps becoming more in love with Greenland than Denmark. Her loyalty to Dina, and the tragedy that occurred to her, pushes Fenna to the edge.
The novel begins with Fenna's interrogation by Brongaard. He is off the books and has no mercy. During his interrogation she is "saved" by a Danish investigating officer, Vestergaard. Fenna's explanation of what happened to she and Mikael is told in flashbacks, but quickly it is obvious that Vestergaard is crooked as well. With nowhere to turn Fenna is saved by Greenland Police Officer Maratse. His virtues endear him to the reader. He is honest and fearless, has a penchant for serial cigarette smoking and is missing most of his teeth.
During the adventure of trying to clear her name, find and save Dina, and unravel the mystery of the satellite, this book is a non-stop page turner. When Maratse absconds with Fenna there is a high speed chase over ice in his police Toyota wherein at one point he skids into a 180 to point and shoot at Brongaard. In much of this book I could actually picture it as a movie, the descriptions are that clear.
There is also quite a bit of darkness. The interrogations are violent, there is murder and suicide. When Fenna finds the mastermind of the whole alleged Chinese satellite drop she is aboard "The Ice Star" a five star cruise ship. She gets there after the chase on the ice with Maratse, another chase with her sledge dogs, and an encounter with a polar bear. There she unravels the conspiracy and continues to pursue the bad guys even as she is relentlessly pursued.
I absolutely loved this book. The action, Fenna's perseverance despite her rookie status and the odds against her made it riveting for me. I have already started the second installment, "In the Shadow of the Mountain". It picks up where "The Ice Star" left off and is equally entertaining. I look forward to the third book in Fenna's adventures.