“A stunning, haunting debut by this young Australian writer. It tells the story of Agnes, condemned to death for murder in Iceland in the 1820s. Beautiful prose, evocative imagery, Hannah Kent transports you effortlessly back to the bleak landscape of northern Iceland 2 centuries ago. I couldn’t put it down, yet I didn’t want it to come to an end. It’s a book that will stay with you for a long time.“
Sophie Raworth, Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2014 Judge
In Northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover.
Agnes is sent to wait out her final months on the farm of district officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant priest appointed Agnes’s spiritual guardian, is compelled to try and understand her. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’s story begins to emerge – and with it the terrible realization that all is not as they had assumed…