Vísir 14th August 1969

‘Someone could break their ankle in the lava’.


Says the writer Bagley whose next adventure novel, will take place in Iceland.

Desmond Bagley, a well-known British writer, and his wife are currently in Iceland, and have been here a month traveling around the whole time where he has gathered information and material for his next book, which will, to some extent, take place here.

“Yes, I thought it would be a good idea to visit this part of the world at this time, because last year I went to Antarctica researching the current book I am writing,” said Bagley, when the Vísir reporter met him last night at the Hótel Garði, (Hotel Garður Hringbraut 29, 101 Reykjavík) where the couple had returned from a 9 day trip travelling around the West and North.

Several of Bagley’s books have been published in Icelandic, Fjallavirkið (High Citadel), Gullkjölurinn (The Golden Keel), Fellibylur (Wyatt’s Hurricane) and Skriðan (Landslide), and his books have been translated into 15 languages.

“They have sold 2,500 copies here and I think it’s absolutely fantastic, because if I sold as much, by percentage, in the U.S., it would equate to 2.5 million editions”, says Bagley, and both the couple expressed their amazement at how much of a book nation the Icelanders were.

“I would not have believed it if I had not seen it, how many book shops there are here,” said his wife.

“So, the books come out in Icelandic maybe 8 months after they have been published in English, but in other countries it usually takes about two or three years.”

“No, I have not decided on a plot for my book, other than it’s going to take place in Iceland,” said Bagley when asked, and then added with twinkle in his eyes, “Except one thing is for sure, and that is someone will surely break their ankle while walking along one of your lava fields. Wow, what a no-brainer!”

“You choose strange settings for your books, Kurdistan, South Africa, Antarctica – what attracted you to put Iceland in your book?”

“Strange settings you say! It is simply because one does not encounter adventures in, say for example, London. Then it is just a nuisance. But if you encounter them in Reykjavík, it’s an adventure. But Iceland, It’s been a long time since I thought of Iceland,” says Bagley.

“It’s been about four years, or more, since he first mentioned it to me,” his wife interjected.

“I came here as a passenger on a fishing vessel in 1946 and I have never been able to forget Reykjavík since, even though I only stopped for one and a half days,” said Bagley. “Otherwise I choose my setting, depending on whether people know a little or a lot about the country, and really the only thing that people in England hear about Iceland, are these fines, that the British receive for fishing in territorial waters. Yes, and when you want to expand your territorial waters, you shoot up a new volcanic island and wide away from the country, “ he added with a smile. He clearly can’t stay serious for too long.

“Otherwise, we have both liked it here so much, we are determined to come back, maybe with a caravan, giving us more time to explore the country and its people,” said Bagley, who is leaving in the middle of the month.

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Image Caption: Bagley and his wife, who is his executive director, have travelled around the country on an adventure – in search of ideas for his next book.

  1. ‘Einhver mun brjóta á sér ökklan í hrauninu ykkar’: Vísir, 14 August 1969, p. 16; © DV ehf.