Spring of 1971 – Johanna, a professor of Nordic studies, comes home from Paris to attend her father’s funeral on the island of Flatey – a large, isolated island off the west coast of Iceland. She’s also looking to find work at Reykjavik University, but her feminist views about the systematic silencing of women’s voices in history do not go down well with the university hierarchy.
However, Johanna gets a chance to prove herself by finishing her father’s lifelong work, solving the enigmatic riddle of The Book of Flatey, a medieval manuscript about the kings of Norway. According to legend, the riddle will show the final resting place of a great Viking lord so Johanna stays in Flatey with her son to investigate.
But there are other people interested in the riddle, and when the body of a Danish academic who was a guest of Johanna’s father is found, the police send someone to investigate. To her horror, the detective turns out to be Johanna’s ex, Brynjar, a vengeful man who is still bitter about their break-up years ago.
Beset on all sides, Johanna will have to delve deep into darkness and heartache on her journey to solve the riddle and protect her son.