Seven Sisters Finale: Hold tight and read! Review: Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker: “Atlas”

DEAD BEFORE THE LAST BOOK: Lucinda Riley did not make it to the final of her big project “The Seven Sisters”. The first edition is a total of 72,500 copies. Photo: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

What a journey Lucinda Riley embarked on! Now the journey around the world and eight books is over. The last completed by her son Harry Whittaker after her death.

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The novel “Atlas” must be said to be a labor victory.

It is a great technical boost in writing to piece together the lives of seven people from seven large brick books – with all kinds of emphasis in the novels included here – leading up to a real crescendo in this book:

Who really was the sisters’ father? What was the history of Atlas?

Yes, there is a lot of Lucinda Riley in “Atlas”, but there are also many stages that take on a more long-winded technical feel. There is, after all, a lot to untangle, and not least: There is a myriad of names and family relationships through three generations in seven previous books to keep track of.

Then Lucinda died of cancer in 2021 it was son Harry Whittaker who had to complete the mother’s project.

– Actually an impossible task, says Harry Whittaker himself to VG.

He writes in the foreword to “Atlas” that he had a 30-page document from his mother with dialogues for a possible film production, and also everything that has been written about Pa Salt.

And it obviously carried on quite a bit by Whittaker. There are long dialogue-based chapters that drive the story forward, sometimes it becomes too much. But there is a nice continuity and continuation of the language from Riley’s previous books.

It was impossible to imagine what was coming when I reviewed the first book in the series “The Seven Sisters” in 2015.

OSLO-VENN: Harry Whittaker was just on his second visit to Norway in six months – to promote the book he has completed after his mother’s death. Photo: Fredrik Solstad / VG

It was clear at the time that Lucinda Riley, a prolific Irish writer with great commercial talent, was hitting the big drum.

The books have followed like pearls on a string, about the six sisters who were adopted by the mysterious, eccentric and controlling, Pa Salt. With a seventh sister missing.

The six grew up in a fairytale castle, Atlantis, in Geneva, and after the death of their father, they get mysterious clues and travel the world to find their origins.

All seven books about the seven sisters have followed Lucinda Riley’s winning concept with narrative joy and all sorts of important and unimportant research from all corners of the world – in complex parallel narratives between the present and the past.

It is no noble world literature, but the novels have been uncomplicated entertainment literature at its best.

Riley has sold millions, she has consistently been at the top of sales in Norway. Cappelen Damm is now printing a first edition of 72,500 – and will soon reach a total of 2 million copies sold.

Now it is here, the eighth book where we will get all the answers, yes, on the front of the book is the sales template “Everything will be revealed”.

Atlas is the father’s real name. He called himself Pa Salt because he was persecuted all his life, from when he was a young orphan boy from Siberia until he is an old rich man with seven daughters.

Kreeg Eszu is the evil spirit throughout the books, with an equally evil son who has gone after the daughters.

Atlas flees Siberia and ends up in France with good helpers and meets his beloved Elle (an orphanage child) and the two meet new helpers in every country while fleeing Eszu.

But then Elle goes missing, and Atlas searches – all over the world. That’s when it happens, during the search, one orphan after another appears, which Pa Salt takes in and raises with good helpers, in Geneva.

The sisters learn this by reading Pa Salt’s diary, while on board the luxury ship Titan – to scatter Pa Salt’s ashes at sea. They read, talk, are surprised and surprised again – people from Atlas’s life and the sisters’ lives are connected.

Quite fixed, quite complicated – and a bit long-winded.

CLOSE: Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker pictured a few years ago. Photo: PRIVATE Photo: Private

As always, the range of a Riley book is wide and exotic – from the Russian Revolution to the secluded Greek island of Dilos.

Atlas’s father was the tsar’s personal astrologer, and teaches his son to follow the constellations and especially the star cluster Pleiades – “The Seven Sisters”. In the Alhambra, a fortune teller has given Atlas divination and direction.

Translator Benedicta Windt-Wal has been involved from the very beginning, and this time also gives the material a safe and good atmosphere.

The table is covered with all the terms and tableaus of the entertainment genre. Riley fans will probably give up.

This reviewer almost fell a little off the hook in the astonishing rounding off of the novel.

If everything is revealed? Well then, here are explanations, solutions and actually quite a lot.

Hang in there and read for yourself.

Reviewed by: Guri Hjeltnes


Published: 11.05.23 at 00:00

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The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Sisters Finale Hold tight read Review Lucinda Riley Harry Whittaker Atlas