The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women
Author: Nancy Marie Brown
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Released: August 31, 2021
The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women, written by Nancy Marie Brown, is precisely what the title promises to be. This is a historical exploration of Viking women, and it is such a fascinating read.
There are many reasons why I treasured this novel, not least of which is the inspiration for it all. Remember in 2017 when DNA proved that the Birka warrior was female – the one that everyone had just assumed to be male?
This book takes a look at that Birka warrior’s life, using actual evidence to try and picture what her life would have been like. Best of all – Nancy Marie Brown does so by giving this woman of history more agency than most history books would ever dare to do.
“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.”
I distinctly remember when the news hit about this discovery. It caused an uproar among specific communities. Meanwhile, I personally felt a certain level of satisfaction. That woman must have been someone impressive, and I’d like to think she’s feeling a little smug now that we’re finally starting to understand her better.
It was fascinating reading The Real Valkyrie, as this book is neither wholly historical nor fictional. It’s a merger of the two, one that I hadn’t anticipated. Yet I really enjoyed the balance and Nancy Marie Brown’s image of the Viking woman.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.