In our list, we explore a selection of anticipated titles that promise to immerse us in the worlds of Viking conquests and medieval intrigue.
MJ Porter's "The Royal Women Who Made England" sheds light on the lesser-known but extraordinary life of Æthelflæd, a warrior Queen who left her mark on Saxon England. Illustration: The Viking Herald
The Royal Women Who Made England: The Tenth Century in Saxon England by MJ Porter
Surely, one of the most remarkable rulers of the early medieval period was Alfred the Great. Ruling the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, Viking invasions saw his rule dominated by invasions, battles, reconstruction, and, ultimately, glory. However remarkable his life and rule were – he is credited with carving out and creating the boundaries of England as we know it today – he is not the most remarkable person in his family. According to author MJ Porter, that credit goes to his daughter, Æthelflæd, a warrior Queen who inherited her father's tremendous work ethic, good governance, and military prowess. Born into the Wessex court, she was married off at a young age to secure a political alliance with another Anglo-Saxon kingdom, Mercia. Though she is but one of the Royal Women in this book, her largely unknown story – battling both against the odds in terms of Viking invaders and her gender – finally gets the illumination it deserves. This is also the author's first outing into the realm of nonfiction.
The Royal Women Who Made England: The Tenth Century in Saxon England by MJ Porter is available for preorder on Amazon here.
"Thor's Revenge" follows the story of Sven, a former Viking, on a rescue mission in a historically rich 9th-century setting, concluding Donovan Cook's Charlemagne's Cross series. Illustration: The Viking Herald
Thor's Revenge by Donovan Cook
The third installment in the popular Charlemagne's Cross series is due out this March. This action-packed historical adventure series is set in the mid-9th century and takes place across the Viking world, from the Viking homelands in Scandinavia to the immense wealth and opportunity of the Frankish realms. Following on from a bloody battle at Jelling, Sven comes to find his home in Ribe ransacked and his grandson kidnapped. Whilst a day of reckoning is closing upon Sven for all the chaos and death he caused as a Viking, he knows he must fight one last battle to rescue his grandson... and his soul? Cook delivers an epic finale to this series that, though fictional, is so realistic you can almost hear the clash of swords and the splash of oars.
Anthony Bale's "A Travel Guide to the Middle Ages" offers an engaging glimpse into the medieval era, providing readers with a unique perspective on a world filled with wonders and spiritual devotion. Illustration: The Viking Herald
A Travel Guide to the Middle Ages: The World Through Medieval Eyes by Anthony Bale
"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there," wrote the author L.P. Hartley in his seminal 1953 novel, The Go-Between. And there is no better way to explore a foreign country or time period than with a knowledgeable travel guide. Anthony Bale takes us through the medieval world in an era of miraculous wonders and religious fervor. Of particular interest is his chapter on medieval Iceland, which highlights how people from Viking societies built a thriving and sophisticated civilization on a rocky outcrop at the ends of the earth.
A Travel Guide to the Middle Ages: The World Through Medieval Eyes by Anthony Bale can be preordered on Amazon via this link.
Gain fresh insights into the Byzantine Empire's history with Nicolae Iorga's narrative, which explores the empire's complex past and its intriguing connections with Viking cultures. Illustration: The Viking Herald
The Byzantine Empire by Nicolae Iorga
The story of the Eastern Roman Empire can never be told in a single book, but esteemed academic Nicolae Iorga comes close to perfection. Using a wealth of original sources, Iorga traces the origins of the city on the Bosphorus not through a "dry narrative" but rather through a series of colorful snapshots. Given the Byzantines' mixed relationships with people from Viking societies – sometimes friends, sometimes foes – expect to be regaled with much detail about the frenemies' complicated history. Whilst they initially came to this New Rome to raid and pillage, the Vikings soon saw that trading, rather than raiding, made more sense and money. People from Viking societies interacted with the Byzantine Empire from the 9th to the 12th century, so Iorga has undoubtedly compiled new insights and information on these cross-cultural interactions.
Murray Dahm's work illuminates the often-overlooked period in Britain's history from the Roman withdrawal to the start of Viking raids, emphasizing the role of the Angles, Jutes, and Saxons in shaping early medieval society. Illustration: The Viking Herald
Finis Britanniae: A Military History of Roman Britain and the Saxon Conquest by Murray Dahm
We all know the prehistory of Britain, right? The Romans came, gave the country roads and baths... then they left... and the Vikings came before William I conquered. Yet, what happened in that long period, from the withdrawal of Rome until the arrival of the first Viking ships off the coast in 793? This time period, which Dahm calls the "pre-dawn of the Medieval," is given the attention it deserves by Dahm. The book promises to illuminate this (historically) dark world of invasions by Angles, Jutes, and Saxons, foreshadowing later invasions by their Viking ancestors. Given that the traditional (Western) history of the Vikings is dated with the raid at Lindisfarne, Dahm will no doubt fill in the historical gaps and holes of this once "Dark Age" of invasions and supposed societal collapse in the British Isles.
You can preorder Finis Britanniae: A Military History of Roman Britain and the Saxon Conquest by Murray Dahm on Amazon through this link.
Through the adventurous plot of "Enemies of Mercia," MJ Porter brings to life the complexity of Anglo-Saxon politics and society, setting a thrilling scene just before the Viking onslaught in Britain. Illustration: The Viking Herald
Enemies of Mercia by MJ Porter
The second entry from author MJ Porter and the latest installment in her The Eagle of Mercia chronicles. This book sees the ruler of Mercia, Wiglaf, send a plucky adventurer, Icel, deep into enemy territory in Wessex to discover who is behind a plot against the Mercian ruler's life. Set in Anglo-Saxon England during the 830s, Porter gives much color and detail to this milieu leading up to the large Viking invasions in the middle of the century. The narrative masterfully weaves the complexities and political machinations of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Their division, which facilitated Viking raids, invasions, and ultimately conquest, is brought to life in a thrilling and action-packed story. Porter's greatest asset is her ability to illuminate the British "Dark Ages."
In "The Lost Viking," Peter Gibbons immerses readers in the brutal world of Hundr, a Viking warrior seeking retribution along the English coast amidst Northumbria's Viking occupation. Illustration: The Viking Herald
The Lost Viking by Peter Gibbons
The eighth book in The Viking Blood and Blade Saga shows why the author, Peter Gibbons, is a prize-winning scribe of great historical fiction. Set in the Kingdom of Northumbria in 881, right smack bang in the middle of its Viking subjugation, we follow Hundr, who sails the English coastline raiding, brawling, and challenging any tough Viking to single combat. With his nearest family killed by a mortal enemy, Hundr seeks to soothe his soul with a great deal of deadly violence. Full of betrayal, gore, and testosterone-fueled action, this is one for those who like their historical fiction as close to a Viking raid as possible!
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