This book is a fictional account of a real historical event in northern Iceland. Agnes Magnusdottir has been accused of the murder of two men, and is awaiting execution. One family has been chosen to house the woman until her official sentence can be communicated from the superiors. The family is fearful of her presence among them, but they soften as time goes on and as Agnes pours out to them and to her selected priest the dreadful story of her life.
Kent manages to keep the reader turning pages, unsure of whether Agnes is guilty or innocent, until the very end of the story. Knowing that the tale is based on fact (Agnes was the last woman to be publicly beheaded in Iceland) and catching a glimmer of the atmosphere, language, and customs of the Icelandic culture enriched the telling immensely. I quickly devoured the book. I only wish I could have listened to the book in audio form (should have requested it by interlibrary loan in that format several weeks ago) so that I could have had a better handle on the pronunciations of words and names.