1852, Sweden’s far north. Charismatic preacher Lars Levi Læstadius and Jussi, the young Sami apprentice he has rescued from destitution, undertake long botanical treks to study the local flora and fauna. Læstadius also teaches Jussi to read and write, and to love and fear God.
When a milkmaid goes missing deep in the forest, the locals suspect a predatory bear is at large. Using early forensics, Læstadius and Jussi find clues that point to a more sinister killer, but even they are blind to the evil enclosing in around them.
To Cook a Bear explores how literacy can be empowering, and how superstition and prejudice can breed violence, in a rich and fascinating mystery set deep in the Arctic circle.