Nancy Marie Brown writes about Iceland and Vikings, science and sagas. Her books combine extremes: medieval literature and modern archaeology, myths and facts. They ask, What have we overlooked? What have we forgotten? Whose history must not be lost? The author of six general interest books and one young adult novel, she lives on a farm in Lyndon, Vermont and spends part of each summer in Iceland leading history and horseback tours. She lectures through the Vermont Humanities Council’s Speakers Bureau.
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Lays to rest the myth that Viking society was ruled by men and celebrates the dramatic lives of Viking warrior women
ISBN 9781250201461 (Hardcover). ISBN 9781250200839 (Ebook). The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women — In 2017, DNA tests revealed to the collective shock of many scholars that a Viking warrior in a high-status grave in Birka, Sweden was actually a woman. The Real Valkyrie weaves together archaeology, history, and literature to imagine her life and times, showing that Viking women had more power and agency than historians have imagined. Brown uses science to link the Birka warrior, whom she names Hervor, to Viking trading towns and to their great trade route east to Byzantium and beyond. She imagines her life intersecting with larger than life but real women, including Queen Gunnhild Mother-of-Kings, the Viking leader known as The Red Girl, and Queen Olga of Kyiv. Hervor’s short, dramatic life shows that much of what we have taken for truth about women in the Viking Age is based, not on data, but on nineteenth-century Victorian biases. Rather than holding the household keys, Viking women in history, law, saga, poetry, and myth carry weapons. These women brag, “As heroes we were widely known—with keen spears we cut blood from bone.” In this compelling narrative Brown brings the world of those valkyries and shield-maids to vivid life.
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