On Midsummer Eve in 1985, a young folklore researcher disappears from Eidsborg in Telemark. Exactly thirty years later, a student goes missing who had also been researching pagan rituals at the 13th century village church. Then former police officer Knut Abrahamsen is found drowned in a nearby river, presumed suicide.
Private investigator Max Fjellanger leaves his Florida home and returns to his native Norway for Knut’s funeral. But Max is not convinced that Knut killed himself, and there seems to be a link to the case of the missing researcher, which the two of them had worked together until a corrupt sheriff put an end to the investigation.
This time Max is determined to discover the truth, and finds himself drawn into a dark universe in which ancient superstitions, religious cults, and sinister forces are still very much alive. And the stave church, with its wooden statue of Saint Nikuls, is at the centre of it all.
Finding an unlikely partner in Tirill Vesterli — a university librarian and single mother who is obsessed with crime novels — Max is plunged into a menacing world of ghostly monks, severed pigs’ heads, and mythic rites, all somehow connected to Midsummer Eve, which is fast approaching. As Max and Tirill quickly learn, it’s a misconception that the past is past. The truth is that it’s never over.