"Alternate history at its' best"
In the tenth century, Gunnhild, daughter of a Norse
chieftain, learns her lessons quite well as a child. Her
father's concubine teaches her how witchcraft can aid and
protect a female from men. The death of her mother teaches
her to never yield to male ogres and their demands and
commands. Gunnhild vows to never be a weak female
dependent on the other sex for safety and comfort.
To attain her goal of total independence, Gunnhild
trains under witches and sorcerers learning the crafts.
She marries the only man she ever felt affection for, Eirik
Blood-Ax. Together with their strengths and iron-wills,
they will either forge a dynasty that legends will whisper
about for millenniums to come or fade to dust under the
relentless attack of their enemies who want this union to
Poul Anderson is already a legend among speculative
fiction readers and authors. Yet his latest dark tale,
MOTHER OF KINGS, shows why the recently deceased author has
been revered for decades and the recipient of so many
prestigious awards. The genre's guru blends mythology and
history into a powerhouse of a tale that tells readers the
story of Gunnhild, a real persona who has received
legendary status over the last millennium. The gritty but
vivid story line provides a powerful look at the tenth
century as rarely seen by literature except perhaps Beowulf
and that is a few centuries earlier. The beginning of the
end of the Age of the Vikings is fitting posthumous triumph
from one of the greats.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted September 11, 2001