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
The churchmen gather for the synod. Supporting the Columbian church are Abbot Colman of Lindesfarne, Bishop Oswald, & Abbess Hildegard who is present but, as a woman, is not allowed to speak. Bishop Agilbert leads the Roman party. With him is Wilfrid, a man Hildeburg doesn't trust. He came to the queen to get a position at Lindesfarne. Then he said he needed more knowledge, so the queen sponsored his journey to Rome. When he returned, he told Hildegard the Roman rites were more correct, and he would prove it. Now he is at the synod, a friend of Oswy's son Alhfrith. Hildeburg worries Wilfrid's argument will be far too clever for Abbot Colman to counter. Why has he come, she wonders. What does he want?
Wilfrid is also in the party. I don’t trust him. As a lad, he appealed to Queen Enfleda because he wanted to go to Lindisfarne. No sooner was he praised for his humility and studious demeanor then he asked the queen to sponsor his trip to Rome. He went for vanity, and returned convinced of the Roman way. I think he found it more compatible with his love of status and pageantry. He quickly ingratiated himself with Alhfrith, and together, these two young men gathered enough support to push King Oswy into declaring this sham of asynod.