Publication date
Johnny Kniga
Format info
301 pages

Redemption of the Firstborn

Esikoisten lunastus

Three mystics, one ancient secret.
Two groups on the hunt.
Someone is going to lose.

A taut, atmospheric debut thriller digs into the secret history of Jewish Helsinki

Detective Leo Asko of the Helsinki police crime prevention unit receives an assignment: he is to investigate an unoccupied downtown apartment.

Asko’s unconventional approach means refusing any background information; he wants his initial impressions to be untainted and impartial. And in this case, Asko’s instincts tell him something is awry.

Asko’s concerns spur him to contact Daniel Janovsky, a junior colleague who has been sidelined to desk duty. With Janovsky’s help, Asko discovers his findings point to a cadre of strictly observant Jews. But criminal forces, too, are on the prowl, eager to profit from the international trade in stolen antiquities.

The two rival groups seek something of immeasurable value, but no one seems to know what – at least not the police.

The race for treasure proves furious; collisions are inevitable and deadly. As the chase intensifies, the suspense mounts, keeping readers in its grip right up through the final pages – and beyond.

The Redemption of the Firstborn is a tightly constructed thriller that evocatively captures an intense, near-mystical mood, the brooding weight of history, and Helsinki – the deceptively charming city at the heart of the story.


Rights sold

Russian (Knizhniki Publishing House)


Reading material

English sample
English synopsis
Finnish edition


Praise for the Work


“We were very excited to discover Samuel Davidkin – as a Jewish publisher we are always on the lookout for extraordinary Jewish stories from around the world, and this author and his Asko series fit the bill perfectly, allowing us a peak into Finland’s diaspora. Having now explored The Redemption of the Firstborn closer we could not be happier to have Davidkin on our list; his unique premise, gripping plot twists, fascinating characters and Nordic-Jewish sense of humour make for a thought-provoking and unputdownable thriller.” – Acquisitions and Rights Manager Ksenia Tserkovskaya, Knizhniki  Publishing House, Russia

“Well here’s a story that hits you with a bang like nothing that has ever been written in Finland before! Samuel Davidkin’s debut contains elements of Jewish mysticism, a police novel, vacillating identities and something from the raiders of the lost ark. Right from the beginning the atmosphere is unbearably exciting, a feat achieved without relying on any typical devices used to rouse suspense (…) The melancholic suspense of the story, the atmosphere of the work as a whole and the fragility of the characters made a huge impact on me. If Redemption of the Firstborn is more than just a stroke of luck, Davidkin has a brilliant future in front of him, including on the international markets.”– Kansan Uutiset newspaper, Finland

“Samuel Davidkin has truly redeemed his firstborn work. Hopefully he will continue.” – Hakehila magazine, Finland

“In his thriller, Davidkin draws strong inspiration from Dan Brown and his professor of symbolism, Robert Langdon.” – Kainuun Sanomat newspaper, Finland

“This is a fantastic detective story for fans of Helsinki! […] The Redemption of the Firstborn is a delicious detective novel that really pulls you in. […] The traditions and history of Jews in Finland entice the reader, the setting is evocative and genuine and there is no shortage of twists and turns, making for an enjoyable reading experience. […] The most impressive part is the exquisite depiction of the city. Davidkin’s work truly brings Helsinki to life: the streets and corners move in front of the eyes of the reader and the scenes of events can be seen vividly in one’s mind. […] I hope Davidkin writes a sequel soon. The adventure is only beginning!” – Eniten minua kiinnostaa tie literary blog, Finland

“A poignant new addition has arrived on the Scandinavian thriller scene. […] The story and characters have strong noir features […] Thanks to the smoldering, almost glimmering themes, and the brilliant setting, I will surely continue to follow Davidkin’s works.”- Kulttuuripohdintoja literary blog, Finland

“This debut novel fascinates with its mysticism. It is different from other thrillers I have read for a long time. There’s a very strong Judaism element in the story, and the reader will find out about Judaism in Helsinki from the late 19th Century until the present day.” – Stig-Björn Nyberg’s reading tips, Studio 55 (TV show & website), Finland

The Redemption of the Firstborn is a gripping and delicious detective story. The protagonists have naturally their own sorrows and secrets, but the story in itself carries far even without them. The traditions and the history of Finnish Jews are captivating, the setting of the book is vivid and authentic, and there are enough twists and turns in the plot to create an enjoyable reading experience.” – Suketus literary blog, Finland

“A welcome breath of fresh new air in the Finnish detective story genre.” – Mummo matkalla literary blog, Finland

The Redemption of the Firstborn is a fascinating and dense detective story. (…) I am really excited about this book. I am so much looking forward to a sequel. I warmly recommend this novel to all detective story enthusiasts. A slightly different read, and definitely worth reading.” – Elämä on ihanaa literary blog, Finland