Every so often an author comes along to overturn the tables on a nation’s culture by attacking and cutting the very legs out from under it. Writer and visual artist Helgason does a savage number on the male-dominant, misogynistic Icelandic society of his birth. His fictional subject is a heroine named Herra who is over eighty years old and has been subject to so much callous disregard, cruel incivility, and barbaric rape. She will be raised in the most primitive conditions imaginable, in the far reaches of archipelago obscurity where she is worked as a slave, sexually abused, and deprived of life’s comforts. When her blond-haired father finally gets the opportunity to start a new life, it will be in Nazi-occupied Denmark, where he will join the party and become a minor security official. In this new life of status that comes from belonging to the master race, Herra and her family are suddenly caught up in Hitler’s plan to subdue the eastern lands. Ties with the old land are broken, and her family is wandering like vagabonds across a war-torn landscape. In the ensuing years the family will disintegrate, leaving the young Herra vulnerable to men who will viciously exploit her. Prostitution will become her mainstay of survival. On the surface, her womanhood will be destroyed by war and dehumanized males. Through all this she will manage to bear and raise children who will form the future of this island nation that has literally risen phoenix-like from the ash heap of history. As part of this emerging destiny, Herra, in the spirit of all that is nordically wild and  stubbornly independent, does it her way right to end. Hers has not been a life of regret or compromise. The horrors of rape and the ills of prostitution counterintuitively become the opportunities by which she makes something good out of bad.