Brown lays to rest the hoary myth that Viking society was ruled by men and celebrates the dramatic lives of female Viking warriors.
In 1889, in Birka, Sweden, a former site of a Viking trading center, archaeologists find a warrior’s burial chamber. With the amount and array of weapons, valuables, horses, this must have been a great Viking warrior.
Imagine the surprise when in 2017, DNA tests revealed that this high-ranking Viking warrior was a woman.
Viking women didn’t hold the keys to the larder and keep the house. Viking women carried weapons. They carry shields into battle next to their male counterparts. They are heroes. Poems are written about them.
Ms. Brown uses science to link Hervor, to the other Viking trading centers and to the entire trade route. She tells a story of Hervor meeting with the likes of Queen Gunnhild, The Red Girl, and Queen Olga. Hervor didn’t live a long life but she packed a lot into it.
There is so much misinformation from writers in an entirely different era than the Vikings. Mostly by men who have relegated women to the hearth. This well- written and well-researched work shake that old perception off. Women held power and as the author imagines what her life would have been like, she brings the valkyries alive.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The history, the “what ifs”, and the research that went into this beautiful work. Being of Norwegian descent it confirms many of the tales I was told as a child by my grandmother. It was a pleasure to read.
NetGalley/ August 31st, 2021
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