Kiran wrote... The Mercies
The Times Number 1 Bestseller, The Sunday Times Bestseller. Second-listed for the Prix Femina. Longlisted for Not the Booker Prize.
Beneath the sunken sun on Christmas Eve 1617, where Finnmark, Norway, scatters into its northernmost islands, twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter watches the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of Vardø must fend for themselves.
Three years later, beneath a midnight sun, a sinister figure arrives in Vardø. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority, and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty and terrible evil.
Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials, this is a story of love, evil, and obsession, set at the everdark edge of civilisation. For readers of Burial Rites, The Miniaturist and Wolf Winter. Available from Picador (UK), Little, Brown (US), and twenty other territories from February 2020.