When the body of Jacob Kieler Junior is discovered in a stately old house in Reykjavik on a cold January morning in 1973, Jóhann Pálsson, an expert in the emerging field of forensics, is called to the scene. He soon discovers something even more unsettling than the killing itself: The victim's father, Jacob Senior, was shot to death in the same living room nearly 30 years earlier. Through diaries Jacob Senior kept throughout his lifetime - detailing his travels abroad honing his engineering skills in wartime Europe and on the Chicago & North Western Railway in the US - Pálsson and his colleagues try to link Jacob Junior's shooting and the death of Jacob Senior, an ambitious man dedicated to bringing the railroad to Iceland at any cost.
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