Winter, 1617. The sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardo is thrown into a vicious storm. A young woman, Maren, watches as the men of the island, out fishing, perish in an instant.
Vardo is now a place of women. Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet has been summoned to bring the women of the island to heel.
With him travels his young wife, Ursa. In her new home, and in Maren, Ursa encounters something she has never seen before: independent women. But where Ursa finds happiness, even love, Absalom sees only a place flooded with a terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs.
. . For readers of Circe and The Handmaid's Tale, Kiran Millwood Hargrave's The Mercies is a story about how suspicion can twist its way through a community, and about a love that could prove as dangerous as it is powerful.