This book is about the famous and powerful Catholic bishop, Jón Arason (1484-1550).
When the Reformation was to be implemented in Iceland by Danish decree, the bishop refused to heed the King’s command and resorted to fight against this new order.
A long and bitter struggle unfolded between the two camps. In the end, Jón, along with his sons, Ari and Bjørn, were beheaded at Skálholt on 7 November 1550. To avenge this atrocity, his supporters killed every last Danish official in Bessastaðir that winter.
Gunnar Gunnarson’s novel is based on these terrible fortunes. He tells the story of Jón’s childhood and youth, his relationship with Helga Sigurðardóttir, his clerical post, and the violent struggle that marked the final years of his life.
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