This comes nearer to the tempo and the stature of Kristin Lavransdatter than any novel I have read since that memorable book. The period -- the 17th century; the setting, Iceland, a strange blend of barbarism and civilization and leanings toward the cultural tenets of the continent. The story of the closing in of tradition and ethical standards, a vise holding lovers apart, is absorbingly interesting in the reading and relentless in the refusal to admit that ""quality of mercy"" which might have saved the day. In spite of the remoteness of time and place, the story has a liveness of the present, while yet sacrificing nothing of the sense of authenticity. A first rate job of translation -- in that one is never conscious of the translator.