Mika Waltari
Publication date
Format info
282 pages

Dance Over the Tombstones

Tanssi yli hautojen

A spell-binding historical romance set during Finland’s move from Sweden to the Russian empire

It’s 1809 and Napoleon’s Europe is facing extreme uncertainty. Finland, which was previously under Swedish rule, is annexed to Russia as a Grand Dutchy. This is affirmed at the 1809 Diet of Porvoo, where Dance Over the Tombstones is set.

Arriving in a lavish horse-drawn carriage, Emperor Alexander I arrives at the feast. He’s immediately taken by the governor’s daughter, the eighteen-year-old Ulrika Ottiliana Möllersvär. An intense and ultimately tragic love story ensues. Ulrika is an idealist: she dreams of her country’s freedom and prays that feudalism will soon be abolished. But will she be able to make peace with the emperor’s dark past?

Dance Over the Tombstones is a painful story about ill-fated relationships and desires that are impossible to insatiate. It is also a story of hope, passion and the pursuit of justice, set during perhaps the most important era of Finnish history.

Dance Over the Tombstones was turned into a film by Toivo Särkkä in 1955.

Mika Waltari (1908-1979) is the most popular 20th century Finnish writer who is best known for his magnus opus The Egyptian. Over a career that spanned five decades, Waltari published well over 100 works, of which 200 translations have been made. His works include at least 30 novels, 20 plays and 15 novellas, as well as short stories, poems, screenplays and essays. In 1957 he was appointed to the Academy of Finland, having previously won the state literature award five times. Waltari’s works have been translated into over 40 languages.


Finnish PDF

Rights sold

Bulgarian (Delakort 2007), rights reverted
Croatian (A3data 1997)
Czech (Hejkal 2006), rights reverted
Danish (Jespersen og Pio 1947)
Estonian (Orto 1955)
French (Phébus 1993)
German (Christian Wolff 1949 / Lübbe 1982)
Greek (Katkos 1995), rights reverted
Icelandic (Draupnistútgáfvan 1949)
Spanish (Jose Janés 1958 / Ediciones G.P. 1959 / Styria 2006), rights reverted
Swedish (Schildts 1945)


“Waltari has, with ease and typical virtuosity, created a charming novel, which exudes hazy romance and light humour.” – Nuori voima magazine