Saturday, 30 May 2015

My next book: The Bitch Queen

The Bitch Queen, Queen Gunnhild, Freya by Anders Zorn
"Freya" by Swedish painter Anders Zorn

The Bitch Queen was one of many names for Queen Gunnhild, Mother of Kings. Gunnhild was married to Eirik Bloodaxe, who was King of Norway and later King of York. The medieval Icelandic saga-writers agree that she was an evil and cunning woman, a practitioner of seid and black magic; she didn't mind using treacherous means to reach her ends. Gunnhild was said to be exceptionally beautiful, and, according to legend, after King Eirik's death she developed an insatiable appetite for young men of high rank.

Queen Gunnhild's many erotic excesses make her comparable with Freya, the goddess of love (see image above), but also with Hel, the erotically oriented goddess of death (see image below).

In the fourth instalment of The Viking Series, which I'm currently writing, the saga of Sigve the Awful continues. In the book, an old enemy of Sigve's family returns to Norway from his exile in Northumbria. Kalv arrives with his son Einar, who leads a fierce band of  warriors. When Sigve learns about their arrival, he decides to eradicate Kalv, his son Einar, and the rest of the family – wives, children, and all.

Einar Kalvson, however, is a good friend of Harald Greycloak, one of Queen Gunnhild's many sons. Harald is King of Norway, and he has promised Einar his support. For Sigve it is crucial to make the king change his mind and support him in stead of Einar. But, as everyone knows, the will of the king can only be moved through Gunnhild, his mother, who exerts great power over his son. Among people in the country there is a saying that “Norway is ruled by the queen's cunt”.

In order to achieve his goal, in this fourth book, Sigve sets out to meet Queen Gunnhild, the Bitch Queen. But the result of their meeting is uncertain, the Bitch Queen is hard to please.

Queen Gunnhild lets the Finns be killed.
"Gunnhild lets the Finns be killed."
Drawing by Norwegian artist Christian Krogh.