Crime novels



Abraham’s Knife (Hnífur Abrahams) is Norðfjörð’s first crime novel. It starts as James Donnelly, an Irish writer, receives a mysterious postcard from his recently deceased friend. In pursuit of the truth Donnelly and his Icelandic assistant get dragged into a hazardous chase around the streets of post-9/11 New York, ever closer to an ancient secret surrounding the forefather of Jews, Muslims and Christians – Abraham. An ancient secret so powerful it can alter the way people perceive their different religious status.

The background of Abraham’s Knife deals with the Third World War-nature of the conflict between the Abrahamic religions and at the same time explores the possibility of peace through their common forefather. All of the book’s historical facts can be argued to be true and the “secret” concerning Abraham and his sacrifice is common knowledge in the Arabic world, but not the Western one.

Norðfjörð spent years on research for the novel and eventually wrote it in Seville, the Moorish-Catholic capital of Andalusia. It received multifarious praise, became one of Iceland’s most sold novels that year, the film production company Zik Zak bought the script and it was also nominated for the Blood Drop (the Icelandic crime fiction award). Abraham’s Knife has been published in the Netherlands by Verbum Crime (2009) and the Spanish publishing house Duomo Ediciones has bought the rights to publish it in the Hispanic world.

Iceladic review:

“… known conspiracy theories are remarkably mixed with the mystery which makes the story very persuasive. Many could even feel the conspiracy theory was too persuasive …” / Rás 1

“… unbelievable how thoroughly the author manages to capture the main styles of the genre … almost a physical way of holding the fast tempo of the story, it’s that eager.” / Morgunblaðið

“This book captures the reader into a dusty world of old manuscripts which could alter the world … There’s obviously much demand for intellectual thrillers today and Abraham’s Knife is like custom made for category.” / Vikan

Dutch review:

“The endless conflict between Islam and Christianity is superbly put forward and thought out. Four stars.” / – 4/5

“Nordfjord has managed to pack a very interesting topic into a very good thriller.” / 

“He makes you read things that even shake your world to its foundations.” / 

“Definitely an author to keep track of.” / 




Sun Cross (Sólkross) is Óttar Norðfjörð’s second thriller. This time he focuses his attention to the Viking background of Iceland and basis his novel on radical theories about Iceland’s first settlers. Sacred geometry, a dangerous search for pagan temples, a suspicious visit by Nazis to Iceland in 1938, Nordic mythology and lost church foundations are just a glimpse of what this page-turner deals with.

Adam Swift, which readers know from Abraham’s Knife, plays one of the main roles in this new thriller, along with his girlfriend, Embla Þöll. Their search for answers and a long lost Viking secret starts in Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, but soon leads them to the legendary south of the island, to places such as Þingvellir, where the first democratic Parliament of the world was founded by the Vikings; Skálholt, Iceland’s most religious place; and other famous settings of the Icelandic Sagas.

After years of research, mainly within Iceland’s alternative history, Norðfjörð brings us a fast paced thriller about Iceland’s past, the Vikings and their lost secret which will finally get unravelled.

The publishing rights to the book have been bought by Duome Ediciones in Spain (due to be released in spring 2011) and Aufbau Verlag in Germany (due to be released in Germany, Switzerland and Austria in autumn 2011).

Icelandic review:

“It‘s a fast and exciting book with a surprise ending“. / Vikan

“Sun Cross, a real thriller! It‘s exciting the whole way through“. / Rás 2

“Those who have read Einar Pálsson‘s theories and his books, The Roots of Icelandic Culture, will without a doubt enjoy the novel, and others are as likely to study them after reading it“. / Morgunblaðið – 3/5

German review:

“Norðfjörð is named along with the two most famous Icelandic crime writers Arnaldur Indriðason and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir as an exceptional talent in the genre. More gratifying is that now German readers can also pay attention to this young author.” / Sauber Eingeschenkt

“With this fast-paced thriller about a secret society, a treasure and a legendary temple the young author proves once again that he's one of the best crime writers in his country.” / Thalia Magazine

Spanish review:

 “Action and social criticism are very present in the novel by the Icelander, who adds a lot of archaeology and a surprise ending.” / El Mundo

“A very entertaining book that has you hooked at all times... Book recommended not only for us who like the Viking theme but also for those who like crime fiction.” / Vikingos de Thule



The Eight Pointed Rose (Áttablaðarósin) is Óttar Norðfjörð‘s third thriller, to be published 20th October 2010. It’s his most complex work yet, which readers have called a “superb mixture of the Anglo-American and the Scandinavian crime novel”.

It follows the intermingling stories of three individuals. A known feminist scholar, Áróra Axelsdóttir, realizes that 12 eight pointed roses on a quilt which her grandmother inherited her contains a hidden message of an old crime. Gabríel Áróruson is a troubled teenager who doesn‘t seem to find his way through life, especially after a dramatic shock which shakes the very pillars of his existence. And Egill Brandt Einarsson, a successful businessman, is Iceland’s only hope when an international enterprise tries to buy the nation’s largest thermal heat company at a controversial fair held in Reykjavík.

At first glance the eight pointed rose seems to be the only thing connecting the lives of these three strangers, but as the story evolves old sins and broken promises get revealed. How does the eight pointed star intertwine the lives of these people? And which mystery does this well-known symbol contain that can be traced all the way back to the Vikings?

The Eight Pointed Rose is a political thriller which explores the relationship between post-crisis Iceland and international enterprises which have shown the nation’s thermal resources great interest in recent years. However, the book is also a historical page-turner about the short span between the past and the future, and life and death. 

Review for The Eight Pointed Rose:

 “The Eight-Pointed Rose is literally a story that’s impossible to put aside until the last page is over... without a doubt one of the best crime novels this Christmas.” / 4/5 Morgunblaðið

“The Eight-Pointed Rose is a multilayered novel... a chillingly exciting read... It shouldn’t come as a surprise that film production companies have shown Óttar’s books interest. They’re made for the big screen.” / Mið

“Numerous descriptions of characters are brilliantly executed, being deeper and more complex than often in Icelandic crime novels... the story manages to have a true impact on the reader.” / Fréttablaðið

 “Óttar Norðfjörð … knows the most desirable trade of any crime writer, to get the reader to turn to the next page … He plays with the plot and the reader, who enjoys every minute of it.” /

 “Óttar is certainly on a roll. A good thriller.” / Eymundsson Bookstore

Reader comments:

“An exciting and mind-boggling novel by Iceland’s crown prince of crime fiction, Óttar Norðfjörð, who superbly interlaces the narrative structure of the American mega thriller and Scandinavian authors such as Sjöwall and Wahlöö, Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson.” / Þráinn Bertelsson, member of the Icelandic parliament

“Juicy content, exciting and fun. Simply a great thriller.” / Guðríður Haraldsdóttir, co-editor of Vikan magazine

“This book will create attention…” / Björn Ingi, editor of

“The crown prince is exhilirating in an amazing story.” / Hrafn Jökulsson, literary critic and writer




In July 1972, Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky are playing for the World Chess Championship in Reykjavík in a match dubbed the ‘Match of the Century’. The Cold War is at its highest and the eyes of the world are on Iceland. But when a young police officer receives a mysterious riddle it becomes evident that the true war will be fought elsewhere than on the chessboard.

In March 2011, Vera Ragnarsdóttir and her colleagues in an underground news organization, working in the same spirit as WikiLeaks, discover a dark secret about the controversial Icelandic group ‘Eimreiðarhópurinn’, which members include three former Prime Ministers. Vera’s father unexpectedly gets affiliated with the case and turns out to have a secret from the summer of 1972 that will change her life forever.

Norðfjörð’s fourth thriller, The Liar (Lygarinn) is a political thriller that not only examines the turbulent times in Reykjavík ‘72, when the historical chess match between Fischer and Spassky took place, but also deals with modern issues, such as free press and WikiLeaks, privatization of national goods, and the secrets that led to the bankruptcy of Iceland.

Review for The Liar:

“This is an intensely fun book. Óttar is a crime writer who knows how to keep the reader on reading.” /

“Óttar is without a doubt the brightest hope of crime writers of the young generation!” / 4/5 Pressan

“The narrative is both complex and fast paced but the author shows great skill in constructing the story and telling it, never confusing the reader, who enjoys travelling through the pages; similar to watching a well shot and edited movie.”
 / Ágúst Borgþór, Literature Blog

“This is a gripping and a good thriller which holds you tight and the ending is surprising.” / Vikan

The story... grabs a hold of the reader. A different type of thriller, which keeps the reader busy until the end.” / Fréttablaðið

“The strength of the book is its speed, excitement and fun development. It’s quite complex, but Óttar writes in a way that never confuses the reader. A writer has to have a great talent to be able to write so many subplots simultaneously.” / Morgunblaðið

“The ending is magnificently written... I can promise that lovers of riddles will loose their breath when the twist unravels in the end... Óttar needs to write more books, lovers of riddles demand it.” / DV

“...a very good candidate for admirers of thrillers.” / Rás 2

Lygarinn by Óttar M. Norðfjörð is an extremely exciting thriller... The narrative is fast and exciting, and even though many things are happening at the same time it’s easy to follow the storyteller.” / Bó

“...One of our most promising crime writers.” / Viðskiptablaðið