Sometimes grim, sometimes uproarious, and always captivating, Icelands Bell by Nobel Laureate Halldr Laxness is at once an updating of the traditional Icelandic saga and a caustic social satire. At the close of the 17th century, Iceland is an oppressed Danish colony, suffering under extreme poverty, famine, and plague. A farmer and accused cord-thief named Jon Hreggvidsson makes a bawdy joke about the Danish king and soon after finds himself a fugitive charged with the murder of the kings hangman.In the years that follow, the hapless but resilient rogue Hreggvidsson becomes a pawn entangled in political and personal conflicts playing out on a far grander scale. Chief among these is the star-crossed love affair between Snaefridur, known as Icelands Sun, a beautiful, headstrong young noblewoman, and Arnas Arnaeus, the kings antiquarian, an aristocrat whose worldly manner conceals a fierce devotion to his downtrodden countrymen. As their personal struggle plays itself out on an international stage, Icelands Bell creates a Dickensian canvas of heroism and venality, violence and tragedy, charged with narrative enchantment on every page.From the Trade Paperback edition.