Queen Emma and the Vikings
Power, Love, and Greed in 11th Century England
By Harriet O'Brien
(Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781582345963, 288pp.)
Publication Date: July 28, 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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A lively portrait of a tumultuous period replete with conflict and strife, political intrigue and shifting alliances, assassinations and coronations.
Emma, one of England's most remarkable queens, made her mark on a nation beset by Viking raiders at the end of the Dark Ages, a period often neglected by conventional history. At the center of a triangle of Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Normans all jostling for control of England, Emma was a political pawn who became a power broker and an unscrupulous manipulator. By birth a Norman, Emma spent the majority of her life on English soil. She was married to two kings of England and outlived both; she was twice driven into exile; while mourning the untimely loss of one son, she was devastated by the murder of another; she saw two of her sons crowned; she was stripped of her powers when her eldest son became king; and she eventually retired from public life as a dowager queen whose land and wealth had been restored. Regarded by her contemporaries as a generous Christian patron, a regent admired by her subjects, and a Machiavellian mother, Emma was, above all, a survivor: hers was a life marked by dramatic reversals of fortune.
Harriet O'Brien is a journalist based in London. She has written for the Independent and Condé Nast Traveler, among other publications. This is her second book.