A fantastic tale set in the far north of Sweden in 1852 following a runaway Sami boy and his mentor, the revivalist preacher Laestadius, as they investigate a murder in their village along with the mysteries of life. Jussi, a runaway, becomes the famous preacher Laestadius's faithful son and disciple. The Preacher is an avid botanist, and with Jussi in tow he sets out on long botanical treks filled with philosophical discussions, teaching Jussi all about plants and nature; but also how to read, write and about spirituality. One day a maid goes missing in the deep forest. When she is found dead, the locals suspect a predatory bear is at large. The constable is quick to offer a reward for capturing it, but the Preacher sees other traces that point to a far worse killer on the loose. After another maid is severely injured, Jussi and the Preacher track down the murderer, unaware of the evil that is closing in on him. For it is revivalist times, and thanks to the Preacher impassioned faith spreads like wildfire among the locals. While the preacher's powerful Sunday sermons grant salvation to farmers and workers, they gain him enemies among local rulers, who see profits dwindle as people choose revival over alcohol. A completely absorbing and gripping novel, To Cook a Bear both entertains and burrows deep down into the great philosophical questions of life.
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