The Kingdom, the new novel by Jo Nesbø. Review

El reino is the new novel of Jo Nesbø. The Norwegian writer has chained a few titles where he has parked Harry Hole, his most well-known and followed character. Now the dark tells us story of two brothers. This is my review.

El reino

What is it the secluded Opgard farm in the mountain. And the Opgards are a family of father, mother and two brothers, Roy and Carl, where now lives only Roy, the eldest. Lonely, taciturn, fond of birds and manager of the town gas station, he leads a seemingly bland and quiet life, with hardly any contact with his inhabitants, although he knows everyone and everyone knows him. But that life is going to be turned upside down - which has not been the first nor will it be the last - when his brother Carl returns after 15 years abroad where he left after the death of his parents in a car accident.
Carl does not return alone, he also brings Shannon, his wife, an architect and with a personality as captivating as it is particular. And both come with great plans of their own but also to make the community prosper: build a hotel luxury in the area.
They have the Carl's charisma, always cheerful, bright, excited and enterprising, in front of the quiet, serious and much less attractive Roy, who has also always taken the chestnuts out of the fire. And it will continue to do so because the Opgard brothers they hide many more stories from the past that will be joined with those triggered by the present and their natures, which are already shown more than clearly in the shocking opening prologue.

Roy is the storyteller who tells us who we are. So he is all and none. It is the mountain bird without a name.

That's what Carl says in a conversation shortly after arriving and having introduced it to his wife. Roy is the one who tells us the whole story in first person, the usual narrative voice that Nesbø uses in novels published apart from the series of Harry holeas headhunters o Blood in the snow y Blood sun. And it shows that is at ease in her. All of us who half write know that it allows more freedom of action to the different selves that we want to take out, even if we have to sacrifice the point of view of the other characters. In addition, Roy addresses the reader many times, as if he were speaking to us leaning over a bar counter and having a drink from time to time.

"The family is first. For better and for worse. Ahead of the rest of humanity.

Is the phrase that sums it up and concentrates everything what is read in El reino. It is the only motivation and sense that Roy has to do what he does for her and for her brother in particular. And what it does is EVERYTHING AND DESPITE EVERYTHING.
I have read about the religious component (which is not mythical, headline makers in the media) in this story along Cain and Abel, which are also second names of the characters. But no, there is none of that because this story does not end like that of the first biblical brothers. What there is is the usual in Nesbø, which does not fool anyone or, at least, not its loyal readers: a colossal portrait of human nature that always moves between love and death marked by tragedy.
Neither Carl Opgard is a candid and kind Abel, despite the abuse he suffered, nor is Roy a ruthless Cain. And you become convinced of it as you get to know them and Nesbø —with that trademark skill — lets you see the deepening cracks in their skins at the right moment. The achievement, which this writer always achieves, is that you also put yourself in that skin, especially in Roy's, who you see yourself accompany (and justify) in the same intention and steps that he is taking, even if they are terrible.
What would you not do for a brother and for the shame of having hidden or not avoided an abomination? Roy carries that and with responsibility and brotherly love but also disappointment, humiliation and envy, anger at deception and weakness, by excessive ambition and the betrayal of that blood that is yours and for which you have sacrificed and destroyed both in the most unimaginable ways. And also the love that you think you deserve, that can be fair and true for once in your life, since the one you live is a complete mistake. Well Roy did, does, and will and will sacrifice everything for his brother, even though Carl doesn't deserve it at all. That is the master play.

“We are all ready to sell our souls. Except that each one puts a different price on it.

The packaging is completed by a gallery of characters secondary to those who are also driven by ambition, lies and appearances. From the car salesman who runs a local emporium and is also an unscrupulous moneylender, to his wife, to the gas station employees, the former mayor, the local journalist and husband of Carl Opgard's former girlfriend or the gossipy hairdresser and jilted.
All surrounded by hazy and oppressive environment of small towns where there is much to hide in closets, especially secrets and blood. Only Kurt Olsen, the policeman investigating both past and present events around the Opgards, seems determined to find a truth that never comes. And even Shannon, Carl's wife, will be swept up in that spiral of secrets and tragedies of her husband and her brother-in-law: "We violate morality to put it at the service of our interests when we feel that our pack is threatened."


Will follow eternal debate among readers who only want Harry Hole and the ones that we enjoy with each letter that Nesbø writesEither about that policeman of our loves and sorrows or about any story that comes to mind.
They all have their mark, his unique dissection of human contradiction, with the best and the worst that we have or what we are capable of, his ability to make us think one thing and the opposite with that direct narration, to the livers and to the heart, to look for us and remove that dark point and justify it. With Nesbø, and always without doubt, that darkness is as legitimate as light.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.


    It is the first time that I read this author. The book seems entertaining to me but it has some translation errors. I had been told that Nesbo was the king of the black novel and I was disappointed.