Please make welcome the lovely MJ Porter to the Tavern! We're celebrating her new book release, Lady Estrid: A Novel of Eleventh Century Denmark! I'm looking forward to reading this historical novel. The ale and mead are flowing, so grab a mug and let's take a look at MJ's book...
Daughter, Sister, Duchess, Aunt. Queen. United by blood and marriage. Divided by seas. Torn apart by ambition. Lady Estrid Sweinsdottir has returned from Kiev, her first husband dead after only a few months of marriage. Her future will be decided by her father, King Swein of Denmark, or will it? A member of the ruling House of Gorm, Estrid might not be eligible to rule, as her older two brothers, but her worth is in more than her ability to marry and provide heirs for a husband, for her loyalty is beyond question. With a family as divided and powerful as hers, stretching from England to Norway to the land of the Svear, she must do all she can to ensure Denmark remains under the control of her father’s descendants, no matter the raging seas and boiling ambition that threatens to imperil all.
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Sneak preview from Lady Estrid
Lady Estrid writing to her father...
“My Lord Father, King Swein of Denmark and part of Norway.”
“I write to inform you of the death of my husband. He was injured in a mock-battle, fell to the floor, and didn’t wake again, although his death took a further sixteen days, and was unpleasant to behold. Why he was fighting, I’ll never know. He was too weak, but then, his brothers goaded him on. Is it always the same with brothers? It infuriates me.”
“I told you, father, that the marriage would not be successful. I have returned to Denmark, although without your intervention. Thankfully, my mother was unprepared to leave her only daughter amongst the Rus, even though she’s unhappy with the outcome of the marriage. She’s been cool and implacable towards me ever since my return.”
“You would know this, but of course, you remain in England. I’ve been informed that you’ve not set foot in Denmark for nearly two years. I wish you well with your ambitions but would know what you plan for me next, and when you’ll give up on your single-minded plan to claim England. Surely, after all this time, you must realise that the only possible outcome is defeat? I will say that to you, even if others will not.”
“My husband’s father attempted to marry me to one of his other sons, but of course, that goes against God’s wishes, and I staunchly refused. I was forced to use your name as a threat against those ambitions, and when that didn’t work, to petition my mother, and my brother, King Olof Skotskonung, who at least was in Old Uppsala and could have come to my rescue more quickly than you.”
“Tell me father, why you didn’t heed my warnings about the marriage? Are you so blinded by your ambitions, that you’ll have no one gainsay you? I would truly like to know. I would. I find it impossible to understand your motivations and what drives you. Why can’t you be content with Denmark? I would be.”
“My brother, Harald has, at least, welcomed me home, if not with open arms, then with sympathy and understanding for the trauma of my marriage and a dead husband. I know I wouldn’t have received the same from you. No doubt you blame me, even though it isn’t my fault. It seems that one of your grandchildren will not claim the kingdom of Kiev when they’re older. No doubt that upsets your careful plans but I won’t apologise for that. It was in God’s hands, not mine.”
“When will you return to Denmark? I must speak to you immediately of the future. I find it impossible to express myself adequately using words, and of course, I have no assurance that you will even receive this letter while you linger in England. I imagine the place to be as inhospitable as the kingdom of the Rus, even though you assure everyone it’s rich in wealth, and enjoys rolling green fields ripe with crops.”
“Your dutiful, if aggrieved, daughter, Lady Estrid Sweinsdottir, from Roskilde.”
Meet the Author
I’m an author of fantasy (Viking age/dragon-themed) and historical fiction (Early English, Vikings and the British Isles as a whole before the Norman Conquest), born in the old Mercian kingdom at some point since AD1066.
I write A LOT. You’ve been warned!