100 books like Women in the Viking Age

By Judith Jesch,

Here are 100 books that Women in the Viking Age fans have personally recommended if you like Women in the Viking Age. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths

George Hagen Author Of Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle

From my list on Viking gods & heroes.

Who am I?

George Hagen is a Brooklyn writer who has written two adventure books for children about talking ravens. Hagen lived on three different continents by the time he was eleven, and developed a tremendous passion for folktales of all cultures from Africa, Egypt, Greece, Europe, and Celtic and Norse myth. His children's books were inspired by the myth of the Viking God Odin whose two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, flew around the land of ice and fire, reporting all the news. Hagen has appeared before hundreds of students, unraveling the secret mystery of riddles (modern and ancient) at schools from New York to Los Angeles.

George's book list on Viking gods & heroes

George Hagen Why did George love this book?

The D'Aulaire's book is a visual feast of stories from the land of ice, fire and Viking culture. The tales are well-told and exciting. It comes with lively illustrations which offer children who haven't encountered Thor, Odin, Freya or Loki before, a panorama of this marvelous world and the many adventures of the Norse Gods.

By Ingri D'Aulaire, Edgar Parin D'Aulaire,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Caldecott medal-winning d'Aulaires once again captivate their young audience with this beautifully illustrated introduction to Norse legends, telling stories of Odin the All-father, Thor the Thunder-god and the theft of his hammer, Loki the mischievous god of the Jotun Race, and Ragnarokk, the destiny of the gods. Children meet Bragi, the god of poetry, and the famous Valkyrie maidens, among other gods, goddesses, heroes, and giants. Illustrations throughout depict the wondrous other world of Norse folklore and its fantastical Northern landscape.


Book cover of The Viking Achievement

Linnea Hartsuyker Author Of The Half-Drowned King

From my list on understanding the Vikings.

Who am I?

I am a writer of historical fiction. When I was in my teens, my family embarked on a project to trace our ancestry and identify our living relatives. Through church records in Sweden and Norway, we found that Harald Fairhair (Harfagr), the first king of Norway is one of our ancestors. Those explorations gave me the seeds of my first novel of Viking-Age Norway, The Half-Drowned King, and the subsequent books in the trilogy.

Linnea's book list on understanding the Vikings

Linnea Hartsuyker Why did Linnea love this book?

This is one of the first books of Viking history that approached the Vikings on their own terms rather than their effect on Christian Europe. It illuminates areas of their lives like Viking technology, laws, and social organizations, and then how Viking explorers, traders, and raiders exported those abroad. As I began researching my Viking novels, this was one of the books that brought me into the Viking world the most fully.

By P.G. Foote, D.M. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Viking Achievement as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an account of the Norsemen in the period A.D. 800-1200, and is written primarily for the general reader but will also serve the needs of many university students.


Book cover of Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga

Linnea Hartsuyker Author Of The Half-Drowned King

From my list on understanding the Vikings.

Who am I?

I am a writer of historical fiction. When I was in my teens, my family embarked on a project to trace our ancestry and identify our living relatives. Through church records in Sweden and Norway, we found that Harald Fairhair (Harfagr), the first king of Norway is one of our ancestors. Those explorations gave me the seeds of my first novel of Viking-Age Norway, The Half-Drowned King, and the subsequent books in the trilogy.

Linnea's book list on understanding the Vikings

Linnea Hartsuyker Why did Linnea love this book?

One of the best ways to envision a historical period is to see its artifacts. Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga is a companion to a Smithsonian exhibit of the same name and contains a rich trove of images and descriptions of viking physical culture, along with essays about the archeology of their discovery, and how they were used in the exploration of the North Atlantic, and the eventual journey to the New World.

By Elisabeth Ward, William F. Fitzhugh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vikings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Replete with color photographs, drawings, and maps of Viking sites, artifacts, and landscapes, this book celebrates and explores the Viking saga from the combined perspectives of history, archaeology, oral tradition, literature, and natural science. The book's contributors chart the spread of marauders and traders in Europe as well as the expansion of farmers and explorers throughout the North Atlantic and into the New World. They show that Norse contacts with Native American groups were more extensive than has previously been believed, but that the outnumbered Europeans never established more than temporary settlements in North America.


Book cover of Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths

Asa Maria Bradley Author Of A Wolf's Hunger: A Sexy Fated Mates Paranormal Romance

From my list on the gods and world of Norse mythology.

Who am I?

I grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology steeped in Viking history, which fueled my interest in Norse mythology. For example, Uppåkra, the largest and richest Iron Age settlement in Scandinavia, is only a few miles from my childhood home. When my seventh-grade history teacher noticed my fascination with the Viking myths, he started recommending me books. Ever since, I’ve read extensively about the Norse pantheon, and its stories inspire my own writing. I’ve also taken several research trips to historical Viking settlements in Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland.

Asa's book list on the gods and world of Norse mythology

Asa Maria Bradley Why did Asa love this book?

The very fact that we have written records of the Viking myths, other than Runestones, is thanks to Icelandic historian, poet, and politician Snorri Sturluson. His Icelandic Sagas inspired many writers, including Tolkien and Lewis. In her biography of this influential medieval writer, Ms. Brown not only tells us about Sturluson’s life but also summarizes much of his writing and puts it into context with Norse fables. If you’ve ever wondered how much of the Viking stories were historical facts and how much of it is Sturluson’s imagination, this is a great book to read.

By Nancy Marie Brown,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Song of the Vikings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Indie Next pick for December 2012, Song of the Vikings brings to life Snorri Sturluson, wealthy chieftain, wily politician, witty storyteller, and the sole source of Viking lore for all of Western literature. Tales of one-eyed Odin, Thor and his mighty hammer, the trickster Loki, and the beautiful Valkyries have inspired countless writers, poets, and dreamers through the centuries, including Richard Wagner, JRR Tolkien, and Neil Gaiman, and author Nancy Marie Brown brings alive the medieval Icelandic world where it all began. She paints a vivid picture of the Icelandic landscape, with its colossal glaciers and volcanoes, steaming hot…


Book cover of The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women

Patricia Bracewell Author Of The Steel Beneath the Silk

From my list on early Medieval England and Scandinavia.

Who am I?

Ever since childhood I’ve been fascinated by the history of England, and fifteen years ago I made the decision to write a series of novels set before the Norman Conquest. Since then I’ve immersed myself in the history of that period and made numerous visits to the locations where I set my novels. I’ve been frustrated though by the enormous gaps in the historical records of that time, in particular the lack of information about the women. Because of that I am drawn to the work of authors who, like me, are attempting to resurrect and retell the lost stories of those remarkable women. 

Patricia's book list on early Medieval England and Scandinavia

Patricia Bracewell Why did Patricia love this book?

Recent genetic research on the human remains of a 10th-century Viking grave excavated in 1878 in Birka, Sweden, rocked the world of Viking studies when it determined that the warrior buried with numerous weapons and two horses was not male, but female. I loved how this author imagines what that woman’s life might have been like. She also suggests that the woman buried in the Birka grave was merely one of many female Viking warriors, offering data drawn from archaeological finds, from historical accounts, from language studies, and from the sagas to support the theory that ‘shield maids’ really did exist. I had been dubious about the possibility of female Vikings, but the arguments presented in this book are too compelling. Reading it changed my mind. Now I’m a believer.

By Nancy Marie Brown,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Real Valkyrie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra, Brown lays to rest the hoary myth that Viking society was ruled by men and celebrates the dramatic lives of female Viking warriors

“Once again, Brown brings Viking history to vivid, unexpected life―and in the process, turns what we thought we knew about Norse culture on its head. Superb.” ―Scott Weidensaul, author of New York Times bestselling A World on the Wing

"Magnificent. It captured me from the very first page." ―Pat Shipman, author of The Invaders

In 2017, DNA tests revealed to the collective shock of many scholars that a Viking warrior…


Book cover of Valkyrie: The Women of the Viking World

Nancy Marie Brown Author Of The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women

From my list on Vikings, their humor, and their world.

Who am I?

Nancy Marie Brown is the author of seven books about Iceland and the Viking Age, including The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women, The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman, and the award-winning Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths. Her books combine extremes: medieval literature and modern archaeology, myths and facts. They ask, What have we overlooked? What have we forgotten? Whose story must not be lost? A former science writer and editor at a university magazine, she lives on a farm in northern Vermont and spends part of each summer in Iceland.

Nancy's book list on Vikings, their humor, and their world

Nancy Marie Brown Why did Nancy love this book?

In the “traders vs. raiders” approach to Viking history, women stay home and look after the farm while the men go off on adventures. Three books published in the 1990s by Judith Jesch and Jenny Jochens brought the lives of these women out of the shadows, showing how vital their role was.

In Valkyrie: The Women of the Viking World, Jóhanna Kristín Friðriksdóttir brings these early studies up to date. With her mastery of detail from the Icelandic sagas, Friðriksdóttir follows an ordinary Viking woman from birth to death. She tells stories of women who are bold and successful, others who are battered and victimized.

She hopes to introduce us, she says, “to the diverse and fascinating texts recorded in medieval Iceland, a culture able to imagine women in all kinds of roles carrying power.” Like the mythical valkyries of her title, these are “women who decided.” To learn…

By Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Valkyrie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 CUNDILL HISTORY PRIZE Valkyries: the female supernatural beings that choose who dies and who lives on the battlefield. They protect some, but guide spears, arrows and sword blades into the bodies of others. Viking myths about valkyries attempt to elevate the banality of war - to make the pain and suffering, the lost limbs and deformities, the piles of lifeless bodies of young men, glorious and worthwhile. Rather than their death being futile, it is their destiny and good fortune, determined by divine beings. The women in these stories take full part in the power struggles…


Book cover of Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee

Saz Vora Author Of My Heart Sings Your Song

From my list on Asian and South Asian cultures.

Who am I?

My debut duet came out of necessity to handle the grief of losing our first child almost thirty years ago. As part of my writing journey, I searched for stories by people like me, migrants who draw on their upbringing and living with their heritage in their adopted country. One thing I came across was the use of the language, the food, and the many family gatherings and music. I enjoyed reading of people from all communities and liked exploring new cultures and these books do just that for me. They take me to families who embrace the joy of their life in a foreign land.

Saz's book list on Asian and South Asian cultures

Saz Vora Why did Saz love this book?

Syal’s story centres on three childhood friends who grow up in East London. Tania is under pressure to create a cutting-edge documentary on Asian marriages for her employer and is reassessing her life, as a girlfriend to Martin, and a dutiful daughter to her ailing father. While Sunita faces an age-related crisis, her dismal job, her lifeless marriage, and self-harming. The only one who has her life in order is Chila, a naïve, dutiful wife and daughter. As the story unfolds, we find that living in a migrant community and keeping to traditional values is complicated. A poignant insight into the lives of the Punjabi community in the UK and first-generation children who struggle with cross-cultural clashes while keeping their toes in their heritage in different ways.

By Meera Syal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At home, Meera Syal's women "walk in small steps, talk in sweet tones, pour dainty cupfuls, and refill plates in the shake of a dupatta," but at work, they "kick ass across courtrooms and computer screens." In a book somewhere between Waiting to Exhale and Bridget Jones's Diary, Syal has created an indelible portrait of a close-knit group of Indian women living in London. Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee is the story of Chila, a nice Punjabi girl married to the urbane Deepak, and her two childhood confidants: Sunita, the former activist law student, now an overweight, depressed…


Book cover of The Creation of Patriarchy

Gabrielle Stanley Blair Author Of Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think About Abortion

From my list on shifting your mindset about how the world works.

Who am I?

Having my assumptions fundamentally changed after reading a book is one of my favorite experiences. I have a BFA in design and I’ve always approached my assignments—logos, websites, home renovations—as a problem to be solved. What is a visual and functional solution that fits all the constraints (time, budget, purpose, materials, etc.)? The same part of my brain that likes figuring out elegant solutions to design problems also likes thinking about and re-examining cultural issues. For over 16 years, I’ve written about parenting (I’m a mother of six), design, living in France, and current events on my blog, in my newsletter, in Twitter threads, and on Instagram.

Gabrielle's book list on shifting your mindset about how the world works

Gabrielle Stanley Blair Why did Gabrielle love this book?

Oh how I love this book! It’s a clear-eyed look at the history of the world, examining when and why women lost their rights and autonomy as governments and societies developed. I think in my head, patriarchy had just always been around; a permanent fixture in our world. Thinking about patriarchy as a system that didn’t exist at one point, and that was created, really helped my brain comprehend the idea that a world that is not based on patriarchy is possible. The book makes clear that patriarchy is not inevitable, but was a deliberate choice, and that we can make another choice.

By Gerda Lerner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Creation of Patriarchy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When precisely did the ideas, symbols and metaphors of patriarchy take hold of Western civilization? When were women, so central to the creation of society, moved on to the sidelines? Where is the evidence to support the notion that male dominance over women is a natural state of things? Gerda Lerner's radical review of Western civilization shows that male dominance over women has nothing to do with biology, and everything to do with cultural and historical habits.
Dr Lerner draws her evidence from a host of archaeological, literary, and artistic sources, using them to pinpoint the critical turning points in…


Book cover of Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

Tereill Peay Author Of My Broken Stiletto: A Woman's Guide to Up Leveling Your Faith, Finances, and Fashion

From my list on to improve style, increase cash, illuminate confidence.

Who am I?

Throughout my journey, I’ve had to endure many challenges coming from humble beginnings so I wrote my book based on my experiences of being the 1st generational college graduate to overcoming many obstacles that affected my self-esteem while running a multimillion-dollar branch in the banking industry. Writing My Broken Stiletto allowed me to showcase that being resilient is a mindset that can be challenging but worth the reward when you get out of your own way.

Tereill's book list on to improve style, increase cash, illuminate confidence

Tereill Peay Why did Tereill love this book?

This book gave me the inspiration that I could release the people-pleasing effect and learned to say yes to myself.

This book helped me to examine my belief system of how I approach my self-image and how that affected the people around me including my family and friends.

If you are a creative person, an entrepreneur, a mom, or someone struggling with balancing your life and tend to put yourself last, this book will help you shift your mindset and perspective to show up authentically for yourself first.

Having a list of demands on your neck can feel overwhelming and Shonda shows us how to handle it all from her mishaps all while looking amazingly stunning in the process. For me, it was allowing myself to relinquish control and say yes to the things that light me up.

Shonda’s journey of navigating Hollywood lets us know that we all have…

By Shonda Rhimes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Year of Yes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the mega-talented creator of Grey's Anatomyand Scandaland executive producer of How to Get Away with Murderand the single mom of three children, Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No. [The side benefit of saying No for an introvert like her: nothing new to fear.]

Then Shonda's sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed?and the result was nothing short of transformative. In YEAR OF YES, Shonda Rhimes…


Book cover of The Blazing World and Other Writings

Maud Woolf Author Of Thirteen Ways to Kill Lulabelle Rock

From my list on science fiction novels about deadly women.

Who am I?

Writing science fiction was the natural result of a lifetime of reading it for pleasure and studying whenever I could as part of my English Lit course at University. When I started writing, it was really important to me as a woman (especially a gay woman) to write female characters that weren’t just strong and likable; I wanted them to be interesting, unpalatable, and tough. Above all, not easy to dismiss. All of the women in the books I’ve listed fulfill at least some of these categories, which is the core of why these novels hold such a special place in my heart. 

Maud's book list on science fiction novels about deadly women

Maud Woolf Why did Maud love this book?

Someone once told me if you want to read science fiction, you should start at the very beginning and gave me a copy of this book. Written in 1666, I’m not going to pretend this is an easy read but I would recommend it if only because it inspired so many of my favorite contemporary science fiction authors (including China Mieville and Alan Moore).

A woman stranded in a strange and hostile world becomes a military empress, the OG sci-fi action woman.

I admit this book originally felt like doing my homework, but by the time I finished, I immediately went on a literary criticism deep dive, finding every article and essay I could about this text and its (remarkable) author. I came out feeling like an evangelist, and now I bore people at parties talking about it.

By Margaret Cavendish,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Blazing World and Other Writings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Flamboyant, theatrical and ambitious, Margaret Cavendish was one of the seventeenth century's most striking figures: a woman who ventured into the male spheres of politics, science, philosophy and literature. The Blazing World is a highly original work: part Utopian fiction, part feminist text, it tells of a lady shipwrecked on the Blazing World where she is made Empress and uses her power to ensure that it is free of war, religious division and unfair sexual discrimination. This volume also includes The Contract, a romance in which love and law work harmoniously together, and Assaulted and Pursued Chastity, which explores the…


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