Kisling & Verhuyck

Alva’s Thumb

Sensation at Antwerp Fair

Portraying humanity as a drama full of horror is going rather far for an exciting book. Blood flows through Antwerp when the annual Whitsun Fair is in full swing. Every year, aggression during the festival weeks seems to reach a great climax. Is this because of the noisy commotion, the people enticed by the attractions – or has it got to do with the past? The fair is held on the square where the Duke of Alba had his citadel built at the beginning of the Eighty Years War – the Iron Duke who, according to reports, inflicted a terrible and agonising death on eighteen thousand Netherlanders.

Kisling and Verhuyck have made a fascinating novel out of these facts. The journalist Reyziger wants to make a series of narratives about the fair. He doesn’t believe at all that the past can have so great an influence on the present, but gradually he too is caught up in the horror of the violence. The writing duo make no concessions to the thriller genre, remaining faithful to their novelistic writing style. The result of this is evident: in fine strokes of the pen people are delineated, situations outlined, narratives told. Alva’s Thumb thereby deserves its own place in the flourishing genre of Dutch crime novels.

In a colourful, whirlwind narrative, with a taste of blood, and sometimes the scent of candyfloss, Kisling and Verhuyck have once more produced, in terms of both style and content, an exciting tour de force.

De Volkskrant

A page-turner full of historical facts.

Het Nieuwsblad

Kisling & Verhuyck

All of the novels written by the husband-and wife team Kisling & Verhuyck – crime novelist Corine Kisling (b. 1954) and literary scholar Paul Verhuyck (b. 1940) – enter into a dialogue with the past. In Kwelgeest (Geest, 2008), the intrigue involved a missing section of the 15th-century…

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De duim van Alva (2010)., 237 pages.

Themes: crime


De Arbeiderspers

Weteringschans 259
NL - 1017 XJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 760 72 10

[email protected]

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