# 1 on the Norwegian bestseller list
Nominated for Norwegian National Bookseller Prize 2018
A story of dark forces and new energies
Astrid Hekne, a nineteen year old girl, lives in Butangen, an isolated village in Norway, in 1879. She yearns for knowledge and dreams of a life with more to offer than giving birth to a horde of children and dying working in the fields. Perhaps a future as the wife of the young local priest …
Butangen’s priest Kai wants to bring his congregation closer to the modern church even if it’s against their will. An austere but warm church is essential in his plan and beautiful Astrid as his wife could be his link to the locals.
Built in 1170, the old stave church of Butangen is one of the few remaining examples of early Christianisation, unique in its architecture including effigies of pagan deities carved into the wooden walls. Even the bells – two sister bells moulded in the 16th century in memory of the Siamese twins Halfrid and Gunhild Hekne – are special. There is the legend that they ring of their own record when danger is immanent.
In Germany the University of Dresden is highly interested in art history. With Kai’s approval they buy the stave church and send a student, Gerhard Schönauer, to Butangen to supervise the dismantling of the church and its resurrection in Dresden.
Astrid is fascinated by Gerhard. He behaves and smells differently to anyone else but on the other hand is he the one who will take the sister bells away from her village. These magical, sonorous and powerful bells donated by her ancestors. The young woman strongly feels that she can’t let them leave, and so she undertakes whatever seems necessary to keep the Sister Bells at home…
All three of them have to struggle with their good intentions, with their wish for a positive future and their close connection to the past.
Rights sold to: Denmark (Rosinante & Co), France (Actes Sud), Germany (Insel/Suhrkamp), Italy (DeAgostini), Lithuania (Alma Littera), Netherlands (Atlas Contact), Poland (Otwarte), Spain (Alfaguara) and for Catalan (Ara Llibres), Sweden (W&W), UK (MacLehose), US (Overlook Press)
originally published by Gyldendal Norsk Forlag (Norway)
Rights available for: Worldwide
Lars Mytting, a novelist and journalist, was born in Fåvang, Norway, in 1968. In 2011 his non-fiction book "Hel Ved" ("Norwegian Wood") became an international bestseller and received the British Book Industry Award for non-fiction Book of the Year 2016.
In 2014 he received the Norwegian Bookseller Prize for his novel "Svøm med dem som drukner" ("The Sixteen Trees of the Somme") which was published in 17 languages and has been bought for film. In total his books have sold over one million copies in 18 languages.
“Magnificent historical novel.”
– Stein Roll, Adresseavisen
“The Sister Bells is exciting. A real page-turner.”
– Cathrine Loraas Møystad, Østlendingen
“Lars Mytting’s historical novel is captivating and engaging. (…) With his powerful narrative style, intertwined story and detailed knowledge of carpentry, fishing and stave churches, there is reason to believe that this time he will again reach many many readers.”
– Marius Wulfsberg, Dagbladet
“He writes about silver sister bells, but one may well think Lars Mytting took home gold again with his new novel. From the first sentence the author is at his best and never releases the grip he has on his readers.”
– Arne Hugo Stølan, VG