Book Review: Founder, Fighter, Saxon Queen
Author: Margaret C. Jones
Reviewed by: Duncan Evans
This year marks the 1,100th anniversary of the death of the woman known as the Lady of the Mercians. Aethelflaed’s life itself was certainly eventful, as Margaret Jones explains in this book about the eventual leader of the Saxons. She was the daughter of Alfred the Great and, for many years, was largely ignored in serious historical study. Only of late has her contribution to the founding and planning of many towns such as Chester, Warwick, Tamsworth etc been acknowledged. Bernard Cornwell's fiction has helped here.
This book looks at Aethelflaed’s war-stricken childhood, her sisters, marriage and the rebuilding of the Saxon kingdom of Mercia. Then there are the churches that she founded, her daughter, and the battles she fought against the Vikings. She even tried to have her daughter succeed to the throne, something that would not happen for another 600 years.
It’s a fascinating historical tale, that separates the probable fact from the fanciful fiction but pays homage to that by including details of her legacy in popular culture, right down to a line of warrior-queen makeup.
Purchase directly from Pen & Sword here
• 190 pages • Hardback • £19.99
As reviewed in The Armourer November 2018
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