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Operation Napoleon Hardcover – Oct 19 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Canada (Oct. 19 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307359387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307359384
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #218,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Tom Tom on Jan. 2 2012
Format: Hardcover
I imagine most people who are interested in this book have come to it because they discovered Indridason's "Erlendur" novels, and they are keen to read anything else they can find by him. That is certainly the reason I picked up Operation Napoleon.

Operation Napoleon isn't terrible, and I powered my way through it fairly well, but if you're expecting the artistry and the low-key but shattering emotional impact of the Erlendur books, you're going to be disappointed. This is a start to finish "thriller" novel, and not really a very good one.

The "MacGuffin" (to use Hitchcock's term) of this book are the secret WW II papers that have lain inside a German airplane in an Icelandic glacier for 50 years. I won't tell you what the papers reveal, but they are pretty interesting - the "MacGuffin" Indridason dreams up for this book is a pretty good one.
The main character, Kristin, is also pretty good. You like her as a protagonist, which isn't always necessary, but which helps.

The problem for me is that a lot of things in this book are kind of ridiculous, or half-baked. Near the end of the novel the main bad guy stabs Kristin in the side with an awl, and the wound is described as "at least 10 cm deep". After this scene however, we follow Kristin through another chapter where the wound isn't even referred to, and when Indridason remembers that he has had Kristin stabbed, he sweeps it under the rug by saying that it was a closed-puncture (or something like that).
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By Bookish on Oct. 29 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Operation Napoleon

Readers of Indridason’s crime fiction may find Operation Napoleon a bit of a shock: Villains, heroines and breathtaking chases are not what his readers have come to expect. Still, when one adjusts to the radical change of genre, the results do not disappoint. Operation Napoleon is a potboiler, replete with danger, hairsbreadth escapes, coincidence and nemesis. The plot driver is the Icelandic hatred of subjugation.

The story concerns the reverberations caused when a long lost nazi bomber reappears from its grave in the Vatnajokull glacier. The aircraft has a cargo which a small mysterious sub-group, hidden for years in the American military, must have. The plan to extract the plane secretly and to relocate its cargo is complicated when the story’s protagonist, Kristin, a young Icelandic lawyer, inadvertently gets in the way of the operation. She is prepared to risk her life for answers.

Operation Napoleon is an exciting blend of action and intrigue. Indridason avoids excess in the violence and the sex, instead concentrating on providing us with a feast of complex questions and cliffhanging escapes.
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By S Svendsen TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 7 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not having read any of Indridason's detective mystery books, this action/thriller/mystery novel with a WWII theme made me wonder about his acclaimed success. To his credit, he manages to keep readers' attention so that, in spite of its faults, the book is a page-turner. But suspensefulness--although very important--isn't the only criteria on which to evaluate the effectiveness of a novel of this genre.

The plot lacks credibility and seems half-cooked. It assumes way too much. The reasoning behind "Operation Napoleon"'s legitimacy is dubious. There are numerous gaps in logic. The book can be characterized as lacking in follow-through from one chapter to the next. Most of all it creates an operational scenario which to most people with some knowledge of the American military and Icelandic politics could not have been carried out as given--definitely not to the magnitude described. "The Ugly American" stereotypes are excessively relied on to create sham loathing for the reader...way overdone. Kristin's decision to trek to the scene of the mayhem is an incredulous device to tie up the lose ends and lengthen the book. When all is said and done, the Americans' success in covering up their operations by lies, confusion and general befuddlement is also too much to swallow. The very ending of the book, 2005, left me asking "why go there"? Its revelation left more questions than answers.

I did keep turning the pages of this book, but in large measure (as it turned out) I was doing so hoping the writer's effort would make sense and give repose at the end. Alas, I did not get the satisfaction I anticipated.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ted Feit TOP 500 REVIEWER on Dec 22 2010
Format: Hardcover
Long before there were Erlender and Sigurdur Oll, Arnaldur Indridason wrote this imaginative novel. In fact, it was copyrighted a decade ago, and only now has been published in Great Britain and Canada. (U.S. publication is scheduled for the fall of 2011, and the next Reykjavic Murder Mystery, 'Outrage,' is to be published in the UK and Canada in 2011.) It is a pity we have had to wait this long for an English translation of this work, but all the more reason to be grateful that that has now been done.

Just before the end of World War II a German bomber crashes on a large Icelandic glacier with American and German officers aboard. One of the senior German officers attempts to reach a nearby farm, while the others remain on the plane only to be buried by a blizzard and ice; then he disappears as well.

Over 50 years later, after a few failed attempts to find the plane by U.S. intelligence, they are finally successful, and a secret mission is undertaken to remove the plane and its contents.. Coincidentally, two young Icelanders on the glacier in a training mission spot the Americans and are captured, one killed and the other seriously injured. Before the capture, one of the men had contacted his sister, Kristin. She undertakes to discover the truth of her brother's fate, placing herself in danger in the process.

The tense plot follows Kristin as she challenges the Americans in an effort to find out what happened to her brother, leading her on an arduous journey to learn the facts of Operation Napoleon. The descriptions of the various elements of the story are overwhelming: the freezing weather, the subterfuge of the Americans, the divergent views of Icelanders vis-à-vis relations with United States authorities, and other conflicts. Written with a sharpness to which we have become accustomed from this author, the novel is highly recommended.
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