The Believer

      Joakim Zander

The Believer

An intricately plotted and brilliantly conceived stand-alone sequel to the international bestseller The Swimmer that turns the hottest political topics of our times into a complex, resonant thriller in the vein of John LeCarré.

Yasmine Ajam has fled her past in the rough Stockholm borough Bergort, reinventing herself as a trendspotter in New York City. One day she receives a startling message: there are riots erupting on the streets of Stockholm and they appear to be connected with the disappearance of her brother, Fadi.

Following rumors that Fadi was radicalized and died fighting for ISIS in Syria, Yasmine returns to Stockholm to discover what really happened to her brother. There she becomes entangled in a dangerous web of allegiances and violence that stretches far beyond the gangs on her childhood streets.

Meanwhile, in London, Klara Walldéen has landed a job at a human rights research institute working on a report to predict the effects of...

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    The Swimmer

      Joakim Zander

The Swimmer

‘Builds to exceptional tension.’ *Independent*

‘This is no orthodox Scandi noir; it is a novel with rare ambition and breadth that interweaves stories… With a crackling denouement and strong characters, it richly deserves its reputation.’ *Daily Mail*

‘The Swimmer is an absorbing chase thriller… an excellent debut.’ *The Times*

‘Gradually you realise you are absolutely gripped, totally sucked in… well written with a wild, intriguing chase… In the story Zander references Le Carré and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – he’s on the way to being as good as both.’ *Big Issue*


Klara Walldeen was orphaned as a child and brought up by her grandparents on a remote Swedish archipelago. She is now a political aide in Brussels - and she has just seen something she shouldn't: something people will kill to keep hidden.

On the other side of the world, an old spy hides from his past. Once, he was a man of action, so dedicated to the cause that he abandoned his baby daughter to keep his cover. Now the only thing he lives for is swimming in the local pool.

Then, on Christmas eve, Klara is thrown into a terrifying chase through Europe. Only the Swimmer can save her. But time is running out...

This is an electrifying thriller from a brilliant new talent. Published in twenty-seven countries and already a bestseller in Sweden, THE SWIMMER is on the cusp of becoming a global phenomenon.


The Swimmer is hypnotic and intoxicating, pulling us relentlessly across the globe from page to page, intrigue to intrigue.” (Olen Steinhauer, author of *The Cairo Affair*)

“A terrific globe-trotting page-turner, rich with complex conflicts and a big, meaty, chillingly credible conspiracy.” (Chris Pavone, author of The Expats and *The Accident*)

Praise from Sweden:“Impressive . . . a fast-paced thriller written in an international style. Joakim Zander has a good story to tell, a story that touches on both moral questions as well as guilt and atonement, culpability and revenge.” (Borås Tidning)

The Swimmer is well written and incredibly thrilling, but its strength also lies in a carefully rendered cast of characters and an ability to avoid the predictability of the genre.” (Skånska Dagbladet)

“Zander drives up the tension with the help of short, sparing sentences. There is an agenda here: to scrutinize the methods and effects of the so-called battle of good against evil.” (Norrköpings Tidningar )

“What could easily have become a forced cliché is brought to life by debut novelist Joakim Zander’s rich language and spot-on dramaturgy...In the midst of the breathless action, Zander also succeeds in writing flesh-and-blood characters that feel believable.” (Dalarnas Tidning)

“A fluidly written, thrilling, and worthwhile read.” (Folkbladet)

Praise from Denmark:“Urban, cosmopolitan environments are ideal for political thrillers, which Joakim Zander demonstrates with flying colors in The Swimmer—a story of war, love, and shifting political agendas.” (Jyllands-Posten)

“Joakim Zander delivers a very compelling and intense thriller, and this fine debut makes me think of the highly acclaimed and award-winning American suspense series Homeland, which employs some of the same themes. His ability to suddenly rotate the plot 180 degrees is nothing short of brilliant.” (

Praise from Italy:“A full immersion into the classic spy story, masterfully written, in which [Zander] pulls the strings of the characters a like a skilled puppeteer.” (La Repubblica )

“This novel has all the ingredients to fascinate the global reader...The skillfully intertwined network of characters creates an explosive, thrilling dance in which the accuracy of the details and a language completely free from cliché suggests that debut author Joakim Zander knows perfectly what he is writing about.” (Il Gazzettino)

“A mix of adrenaline and suprises that, once again, reinvents the ever-fertile genre of thrillers stemming from Northern Europe.” (Giornale di Brescia)

“Thrilling.” (Il Gazzettino)

“Dazzling debut.” (Metro)

About the Author

Joakim Zander was born in 1975 in Stockholm, Sweden. He currently works as a lawyer for the European Union in Helsinki, Finland and has previously lived in Belgium, the USA, and the Middle East. THE SWIMMER is his debut novel.

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