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The Mercies

The Mercies

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

£14.99

Pan Macmillan | Hardback

6 February 2020

Pan Macmillan | Hardback

6 February 2020


Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm of 1617, The Mercies is a story about how suspicion can twist its way through a community, and a love that may prove as dangerous as it is powerful.

On Christmas Eve, 1617, the sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardø is thrown into a reckless storm. As Maren Magnusdatter watches, forty fishermen, including her father and brother, are lost to the waves – the menfolk of Vardø wiped out in an instant.

Vardø is now a place of women.

Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of Vardø to heel. With him travels his young wife, Ursa. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa finds something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place flooded with a terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs . . .

A gripping novel inspired by a real-life witch hunt. Hargrave’s prose is visceral and immersive; the muddy, cold life and politics of a fishing village leap to vivid life. But her most vital insights are about the human heart: how terrifyingly quickly prejudices can turn into murder, and how desperately we need love and courage to oppose it. Beautiful and chilling

Madeline Miller, author of Circe

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