Mother of Kings

Poul Anderson

Tor Books

With this new novel, science fiction and fantasy grandmaster Poul Anderson has crafted a powerful story of a mighty queen, magic, and the mastery of ancient nations.

Blending characters both historical and mythological, Mother of Kings is the tale of Gunnhild, Queen of England and Norway, who loomed so large in the tenth century-at the end of the Age of the Vikings-that she became a figure of legend, even of myth.

As a child of just seven summers, Gunnhild finds herself fascinated with the powers of a witchwoman who is a concubine of her father's, a powerful Norse chieftain. She also finds another fascination in handsome and lordly Eirik, son of their king. When her mother dies, Gunnhild promises, "I will never yield," and that, "through me, our blood shall flow greatly."
Gunnhild has learned from her chieftain father the way the powerful use the weak. But there are other lessons and other powers she seeks. Sent away to learn the magic of a pair of shamans, Gunnhild becomes a Spaewife-a knower of the Gods, a master in the ways of witchcraft and sorcery. Aided by her new abilities, Gunnhild marries Eirik. She is destined to become queen, and her magic is a fearsome complement to Eirik's strength. But Eirik's enemies are cunning, and Gunnhild is soon without his might.

If Gunnhild can keep the promise she made as a child to never yield, her family's blood will flow greatly, and the sons she bore Eirik will each become a king.

Her own struggles, though, are far from over . . . .

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


Read an Excerpt

Wind snarled and skirled. Smoke from the longfire eddied bitter on its way upward, hazing lamps throughout the hall. Shadows flickered. They seemed to bring the carvings on pillars and wainscots to uneasy life. Nightfall came fast at the end of these shortening days. Soon there would be nothing but night.
"Go find the knife before high tide bears it off," Father told Seija. "It's a good blade. I'd hate to lose it."
"I--maybe no can," she said in her broken Norse.
Father grinned. "You can try. Don't you Finns have witch-sight?"
Already his mood was better. He


Praise for Mother of Kings

"With Mother of Kings, Poul Anderson proves that he is indeed a master."-Robert Jordan

"With Mother of Kings, Poul Anderson reminds us of the indissoluble links between history and mythology. He writes of an era long since melted into legend, which he brings vividly back to life with characters as edgy as tomorrow. The background details are perfectly realized, the plot is compelling, and the style is as crisp as the whir of a Viking ax. Read this, savor this--you'll be glad you did."-Morgan Llywelyn

"Mother of Kings is Poul Anderson at the top of his game. As enthralling as The Mists of Avalon! Poul Anderson shows himself to be the true modern heir of those who wrote the sagas that inspired Tolkien and laid down the foundations of modern fantasy."-Greg Bear, author of Darwin's Radio

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Poul Anderson

  • The bestselling author of such classic novels as Brain Wave and The Boat of a Million Years, Poul Anderson won just about every award the science fiction and fantasy field has to offer. He has won multiple Hugos and Nebulas, the John W. Campbell Award, The Locus Poll Award, the Skylark Award, and the SFWA Grandmaster Award for Lifetime Achievement. His recent books include Harvest of Stars, The Stars are also On Fire, Operation Chaos, Operation Luna, Genesis, Mother of Kings, and Going for Infinity, a collection and retrospective of his life's work. Poul Anderson lived in Orinda, California where he passed away in 2001.





    Available Formats and Book Details

    Mother of Kings

    Poul Anderson

    • e-Book



    Tor Books