The Lure of Water

The Lure of Water

Madeleine Bäck

Original Title
Vattnet drar
Natur & Kultur, Stockholm, 2016
Young adult
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The Lure of Water

Madeleine Bäck

As his hand sinks into the warmth of the stone he hears it. Words thunder in his head, dark, echoing and strong. They drown out all other sounds. 

“There where water lures them They will wander.”

Viktor can’t breathe. The words gather around his heart. They hurl themselves into its gaping depths and spread through his muscles. They change the very rhythm of him.
Again and again that phrase roars through Viktor’s body.

“There where water lures them They will wander.”

He has no choice. He must chant the words. Scream them. Over and over. And somewhere, even though he can’t describe it, he knows that what’s happening at this
moment is for all time. The words are in him and he is theirs. 

It is Midsummer’s Eve when Viktor Husberg and his friends break into a small church in Northern Sweden. Their plan is to steal the valuable, 13th century wooden Virgin Mary sculpture inside. But Viktor finds something else: a stone, bricked into the church’s altar. It is strangely warm, shimmers like oil and bears the faint mark of a handprint on its surface. Viktor must have the stone. The desire for it tears through his entire body. Before long Viktor is driven out into the forest. When desire meets water and earth, an ancient demonic power is brought to life: the well-hidden secret of the Bergsmen. The Wanderers have returned to the county Gästrikland. Now the entire community is in danger. The lives of petty crook Viktor Husberg, student Beata Kovac, animal welfare inspector Krister Svedin and lone wolf Gunhild become intertwined this hot summer. It’s up to them to suppress the evil that has been released. But there is little time.

The Lure of Water is the first book in the trilogy about a country district torn and tormented by an ancient alliance between man and nature.

Press voices

I read “The Lure of the Water” (“Vattnet drar”) by Madeleine Bäck, and it was wonderful! I was told this was a young adult book. Then I read, and thought, hey, this is not (explicitly) for young adults?! (The author did actually intend it for young adults, though.) So, after speaking with a few people about it, and thinking about it, I have come to this conclusion: It is not for just adults or young adults, it’s for both! I hope you might see why…/…/ We meet, for example, the ambitious old journalist with more to him than meets the eye. There’s the animal welfare officer who can heal animals, but who also has a lot of difficulty socializing with people. We also meet the young woman with a bff and a steady but casual not-boyfriend. And, my favorite character: Viktor! Young guy with problematic friends, not a lot of self esteem, dangerous ideas, and a fierce but tender love for his best friend’s girlfriend. All these people and more, will soon discover that something, some thing, has woken up in Hofors. There’s a magic rock, murder, violent forest sex, more murder, forest sex murder, public orgies, evil jackdaws, cute puppies, sick leave from work, alcoholic tendencies, cat murders, undercover journalism, crazy old ladies, and wild getaways. It’s intoxicating, sometimes horrifying, sometimes hilarious, sometimes infuriating. In some ways, weirdly, it’s so typically Swedish crime, I can’t believe I’m not reading a crime bestseller. And then horror strikes! I end up happily exhausted. I absolutely love this book, and will soon start reading the sequel, “The Awakening of the Earth” (“Jorden Vaknar”). Madeleine Bäck is immediately up there with the best horror authors, no question about it.” Booksofdoom

I bought the book because I saw it a lot in book circles and since I’m a sucker for all supernatural and scary I had a feeling that it would be a book for me. It was absolutely right that feeling, I can tell you! Vattnet drar is something brand new from what I have read before and I like it. It is something incredibly exciting and mysterious about the forces of nature, which play a big part in the plot. We follow several different characters and I like it that there is a bit of crime story to it when the journalists not only chase a good story but also the truth about what happens in Hofors. It’s lucky that it’s a trilogy, otherwise I would probably have hit the ceiling! Now I need to get the sequel!“

It’s a fast, raw and dirty realism that grips hold of you just after a few pages. Slowly, the supernatural envelops the story and the horror comes creeping. The grip tightens and I turn the pages faster and faster. All I can say is finally, a really good YA horror story – I’ve been wanting this!” Olivia Borg, Akademibokhandeln

The suspense is constant and I had a hard time putting the book down. I just wanted more and more!” Tova Larsson, 17 years old, blog Bokugglan

It’s physical – violent, erotic, raw and lyrical. “The Lure of the Water” is the first part in a trilogy, and it ends with not one cliffhanger, but several. It’s an outstanding debut!” BTJ

Madeleine Bäck’s horror fantasy “The Lure of Water” is a solid debut. There is not the slightest trace of linguistic uncertainty, unevenness in the plot or one-dimensional characters. This book is like if one of Stephen King’s novels had a baby with a being from the Swedish wildwood. It mixes bloodcurdling nature mysticism with accurate personal descriptions, that is also horror master King’s greatest strength, people become real in all their pathetic ugliness. Madeleine Bäck’s gallery of characters is believable and engaging, the language feels straight through authentic (…)” Jönköpingsposten

“Gästrikland will not feel the same after Madeleine Bäck’s imagination has spread like a spider web over the landscape, giving it a new mystical dimension.” Kristian Ekenberg, Gefle Dagblad

Effectively narrated country noir. Unusually well composed collection of characters. I’m already waiting for the continuation.” Close-Up Magazine

“Dialogues and language are skillful and accurate. The supernatural element is nerve-rackingly present. “The Lure of Water” is the first part of a trilogy, and I will surely read its sequel.” Carola Strömstedt’s blog

Totally knocked-out! What a character depiction! I got nightmares, but it was worth it!” Prickiga Paula

“I had to ration it so I wouldn’t read too quickly, how will I endure while waiting for part two? Pure Tarantino-delight at the end!” Zandra Kuren, Pocket Shop

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