“Kayıp Tanrılar Ülkesi” by Ahmet Ümit

This article is also available in: Italiano

In “Kayıp Tanrılar Ülkesi” , Ahmet Ümit will take us to Berlin to foil a mysterious series of murders related to Greek mythology and, specifically, to the wonderful Pergamon Altar

Kayıp Tanrılar Ülkesi

A skilled killer who commits murders in Berlin. A madman who calls the forgotten gods to awaken with the murders of him. A mortal who tries to become a god because he hates humans. A boy preparing to climb Olympus to settle accounts with his father… . Yıldız Karasu, tenacious chief homicide commissioner of Berlin, daughter of Turkish immigrants in Germany, and her assistant Tobias Becker are engaged in an adventure that starts from the streets of Berlin, one of the most colorful, chaotic and evocative cities in Europe, and ends in Anatolia, within the walls of the ancient city of Pergamum.

My chat with Ahmet Ümit and Lia Lodovici Kars, the translator of the book

Looking for clues in the series of murders interwoven with mythology and symbols, the two protagonists will cross their path with neo-Nazis and immigrants and will fight against the prejudices and racism that permeates society. In the shadow of the Altar of Zeus and ancient Pergamum, Land of the Lost Gods brings myths to life in the present, showing us the unchanging nature of crime across ages and cultures.

Between Pergamum and Berlin

Ahmet Ümit’s new novel manages to transport the reader into the complex and fascinating world of the Turks of Germany, digging into the origins of the latter and bringing to light fascinating almost forgotten unions in Italy and in the world. In fact, we are often led to think that the only mythology present in Turkey is that relating to the steppes, not at all considering the union that has taken place for centuries between the various peoples of the Ottoman Empire, especially between the Turks and the Greeks; besides the fact that some of the key places of Greek mythology, such as Pergamum, are located right in Turkey.

Kayıp Tanrılar Ülkesi
The Pergamon Altar, now kept in the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin

This link is here expressed to perfection by the magical pen of Ümit, who uses the opportunity to investigate even more deeply about the largest Turkish community outside its homeland, placing a strong emphasis on the difficult relationship with a Nazi-racist world, a plague (alas) constantly growing in Germany. “Kayıp Tanrılar Ülkesi” is the perfect mystery for those who know Greek mythology well and want to discover the Turkish world, for those who are passionate about history and for those who love Germany and its facets.

Spoiler section

If you have reached this point and you have not yet finished the book, I warmly invite you to change the article (this one on “Kavim”, the first book by Ahmet Ümit published in Italian by the Casa Editrice Altano, is highly recommended), if you stay, do it at your own risk .

Actually in this section I want to dwell only on the only flaw of this novel which, while not compromising its enjoyment (I never give votes but the book would be 7 and a half), does not make it reach the highest peaks found in other works. From my point of view, in fact, the novel is really perfect up to about half, then sinning “proportions”. Let me explain: from the beginning we are faced with two potential leads, one linked to the family and another linked to the neo-Nazis, and throughout the novel these are presented to us as the most credible ones, with the racist one which more and more sometimes it is passed off to us as “the most probable”.

Kayıp Tanrılar Ülkesi

The fact is that anyone who has a minimum of familiarity with the logic and modus operandi of the extremists (including the policemen themselves), will immediately understand that, however hateful and sneaky, the Nazis could not have carried out these massacres, precisely because such way of acting is too different and counterproductive to their goals. The fact that these suspicions go on until the last 100 pages, in my humble opinion, goes a bit to cannibalize the climax of the solution, which consequently occurs too quickly to give the reader that crescendo of fear and suspicion so typical of the works of Ümit.

Thankfully, the ending is still incredible and surprising, but I would have preferred it to be slow and inexorable like in Kavim, rather than fast and explosive. Have you already read it? Let me know what you think in the Middle East and Surroundings Telegram channel (obviously if you are about to make spoilers, warn beforehand so as not to offend anyone).

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