The Sands of Sarasvati
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The Sands of Sarasvati

by Risto Isomäki
Release date: 2013
Original title: Sarasvatin hiekkaa
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction, thriller
Tags: translation

Translated by Owen F. Witesman. The original novel was published in 2005.

Indian scientists discover a vast stretch of underwater ruins at the West Coast of India. Have they found Atlantis, the fabled sunken continent? Marine archaeologist Amrita Desai and Russian submarine expert Sergei Savelnikov investigate the underwater ruins, and discover a mysterious field of human skulls and skeletons. At the same time scientists realise that a huge meltwater lake has formed inside the Greenland ice sheet. Is the ice sheet about to slide into the ocean? Are our own cities in danger of becoming the New Atlantis?

The Sands of Sarasvati has been translated from Finnish to ten other languages. It has inspired debates and votes in the European parliament, three theatre plays, a major international feature film project, a comic album, multi-media installations, glass art, music, a foundation, short radio plays and several serious research projects.

The Sands of Sarasvati was nominated for the Finlandia prize for literature. It was already awarded the Thank You for the Book medal, and the Star Wanderer (Tähtivaeltaja) prize for science fiction.


The Sands of Sarasvati is an eco-thriller of apocalyptic proportions, which culminates in a giant flood. The book is both topical, and frighteningly believable. It is a lesson in how our melting of the polar ice sheets may trigger a tsunami that threatens the entire globe. Isomäki’s thought provoking and captivating thriller is flooded with cultural and historical knowledge, and with old wisdom from the East.” Finlandia Prize judges panel

The Sands of Sarasvati is a cleverly written thriller which goes many levels deeper than just the prospect of an environmental catastrophe.” – Kansan Uutiset

The Sands of Sarasvati is a frightening thriller because its set-up is so very real. This book must be commended for the way that it handles a difficult subject, and explains the complex causative chain to the reader. At long last, we get to read a literary work that has a lot to say. The Sands of Sarasvati is a significant contribution to the ongoing dialogue about climate change.“ – Parnasso

“Thanks to its subject and the way it is written, The Sands of Sarasvati is one of the key books of this autumn. As a narrator of the movement of snow and ice, Isomäki is as captivating as Peter Hoeg was in his novel Smilla’s Sense of Snow.” – Aamulehti

updated 2019-05-10

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