Teemu Keskisarja: The Angel of Death

Big narrative of common people and their fortunes and misfortunes in the turbulence of a major conflict.

Author: Teemu Keskisarja
Finnish original: Murhanenkeli
Publisher: Siltala, 2019
Genre: nonfiction
Number of pages:  278 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample, English synopsis

Rights sold: Sweden, Lind & Co.

A general, a priest, an insurgent chieftain, an executioner and a rank-and-file soldier experienced total war when the northern superpower Sweden defended its supremacy, and a major conflict in Europe was unleashed that would last for over two decades. The war tossed them about in hunger marches, campaigns of torture, plague-ridden sieges, mountain blizzards and fierce battles from Finland, Sweden and the Baltics all the way to Russia and Norway.

The Angel of Death, by one of Finland’s best-known historians, tells the stories of people who lived during the Great Northern War that raged from 1700 to 1721: ordinary folk, middle-ranking individuals and major figures. From everyday details like how to get hold of spirits, military desertion and the lack of boots the narrative moves on to the big questions: How did people cope in those days without losing their reason? What drove the people of the eighteenth century–people like the rank-and-file soldier or the crowned head who led the troops?

Keskisarja’s story of how Finland provided Sweden with exploited cannon fodder is thoroughly researched, bold, compelling and written in an eminently readable format.

Teemu Keskisarja is a heavyweight of his craft; a prize-winning historian with wide-ranging, strange topics and unconventional viewpoints.
– Aamulehti newspaper

Also available:
The Rough Road to Rate (2012)

About the author:
Teemu Keskisarja