Seventh century England is a hodgepodge of warring Anglo-Saxon states filled with shifting alliances and treacherous grabs for royal power. Kings rise and fall, depending on Woden's Luck. Northumbria, the damp kingdom north of the River Humber, is a state riven with rivalries and kings determined to expand at any cost.
Women have no obvious role in a warrior society, but by using their wits, four women—two queens and two abbesses—make monumental changes. One woman marries a pagan king and successfully converts him to Christianity before he dies in battle. One becomes the most powerful abbess in Northumbria and holds the Great Synod at Whitby Abbey, which brings the kingdom back to the Roman Church. Another becomes queen and keeps political alliances strong despite different religious denominations. The fourth woman ushers in a new age by negotiating with kings and churchmen to establish one united church in the Northumbrian kingdom.
Based on true events and people, this is the story of Northumbria through the eyes of the most important women of their time.
Sandra writes historical fiction about courageous women who overcame discrimination. She also writes a weekly blog with entries relating to history, her travel experiences, and other topics that catch her attention. For more information about Sandra, visit her website www.sandrawagnerwright.com
As Hildeburg watches the new queen come ashore, her emotions range from excitement to curiosity. Why didn't the new queen wait for her husband the king to help her out of the boat? Who is this man dressed in black? Why did the queen bring so many of her own people with her from Kent? Will she change the status of the Northumbrian ladies? Ethelberga, the new queen, also experiences excitement as she takes her elevated social position and meets her husband for the first time. Is Ethelberga nervous? Resentful?
When the ships are well into the estuary, our men row out to meet them. The king’s thanes reach up to lift the queen’s ladies into the boats, but leave her escorts to climb down into the bobbing vessels. It takes three trips to bring the queen’s household ashore. The queen arrives last. King Edwin rushes to help her out of the vessel, but her own man, clad entirely in black, steps ashore first and gives her his hand. When the queen steps ashore, everyone but the king falls to one knee. She bows deeply to my uncle, and then stands silently with her handsfolded.