Dark Queens

The Dark Queens by Shelley Puhak

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for The Dark Queens:

Game of Thrones only real. Less dragons, obviously.

Quick synopsis:

The story of Queens Brunhild and Fredegund who were trying to kill each other for decades while ruling their kingdoms.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

The Vikings wearing horned helmets? Not a thing. Someone made it up in the 1800s or maybe it was Hollywood. It wasn’t the Vikings, though.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

If you slandered a woman as a witch in this time period, you were fined 187.5 solidi. If you called her a whore, it was only 45 solidi. You shouldn’t do either, but if you are short on solidi then your choice is clear.

My Take on The Dark Queens:

You know how sometimes when people are arguing about gender norms, and someone says that if women ruled there would be less war and violence? Well, Brunhild and Fredegund would like to have a word. Or maybe you would just be poisoned.

It’s the 6th century in Europe and things are a little all over the place. Men are mostly in charge, but people keep dying. Then, like a miniseries, two women emerge. One is the rich, well-educated and from royal stock. The other is a former mistress who has gotten to her position by nefarious means. They do not like each other, and neither will go down without a fight.

I generally stay away from books which go too far back in time. Documentation gets spotty and authors are forced to make up large portions of the narrative. Luckily, Shelley Puhak is able to find way more documentation than I thought possible, and she is a great writer. Even when she does have to guess, she’s done enough of the research and presents it in a way that keeps you in the narrative without the need to make up scenes.


I loved this book, and you will, too. Buy it here!

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