In 1851, at a remote village in the Scandinavian tundra, a Lutheran minister known as Mad Lasse tries in vain to convert the native Sâami reindeer herders to his faith. But when one of the most respected herders has a dramatic awakening and dedicates his life to the church, his impetuous son, Ivvâar, is left to guard their diminishing herd alone. By chance, he meets Mad Lasse's daughter Willa, and their blossoming infatuation grows into something that ultimately crosses borders as Willa follows the herders on their arduous annual migration north to the sea.
... the best type of historical fiction — electrifying, edifying and set in an utterly enthralling place and time ... Pylväinen positively shines throughout, whether portraying the day-to-day activities of the Sámi or the all-consuming romance between Willa and Ivvár. The late introduction of an almost comically evil but unquestionably realistic villain changes the novel's tenor, but given its overall scope, the episode simply feels like the flashy finale for a saga that you will desperately wish was already renewed for another season.
Pylväinen carries forward her sensitivity to the power, comfort and destructiveness of belief into her second novel. With engrossing details of reindeer herding, a beautifully rendered setting and powerful echoes of America’s own dark history of settlers forcing their religion on Indigenous peoples, The End of Drum-Time will leave a lasting impression on all readers of historical fiction.