So it’s been a while since I announced the cover art for my upcoming book, Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha and Ragnar. I must say, when I did the cover reveal I did not realise just how much work this novel had to go. And, still I am working away at it every day.
To think I had believed that taking on the (relatively) short saga of Lagertha and Ragnar would be an easy task! I have spent a large chunk of time dedicating myself to this — and other relevant — Viking sagas, thanks to the amount of articles I have dedicated to the TV series, Vikings, But, it was certainly the small tip of just how much I had to immerse myself into the world of the Vikings to truly understand what was going on with Lagertha and Ragnar.
But, that is news you are not so interested in, are you? Instead, you came here in search of the very first excerpt from Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha and Ragnar, didn’t you?
Before I get to the excerpt, let me first set the scene.
In Lagertha and Ragnar’s saga, they first meet when Ragnar attacks Frø. The reason for this attack is because Frø had overthrown Siward, who is Ragnar’s grandfather. Frø, being a horrible man, then placed all the female wives (or kin, the term is open for interpretation in the saga) into prostitution.
Yes, Lagertha started out in this story as a hooker. But, as you will see, after the battle to free these women, Ragnar is beholden with her and her keen fighting skills.
Finally, if you enjoy this excerpt, don’t forget to add Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha and Ragnar to your GoodReads reading list. You can do that by clicking here.
Without further ado, here is the excerpt. I hope you enjoy it.
“Did you see that woman?” Ragnar was sitting next to one of the fires burning bright in Frø’s village. The tinder had once been a building and the fire blazed high up into the dark sky. “Her hair was like gold spun with fire.”
Erik laughed at him. “Such a fancy way to describe blood matted hair, have you sipped Odin’s gift while I was not looking? You can have you warrior women, I am happy with a woman I do not have to fear can match me in a fight.”
There was laughter as the men listened in on the conversation.
“She intrigues me,” Ragnar said to no one in particular. “I need to find out more about her.”
“Are you really after a common whore? And what of Aslaug? Is she not warming your bed now she has presented you with so many sons?” The questions came from the back of the group. He searched the shadows but couldn’t work out who had said it.
“I think it is one thing to be a common whore, but quite another to be raised noble and trained as a shield maiden but then be forced into that life because of a dispute between leaders.” He ignored the other questions about Aslaug. Yes, she had bore him many sons, and yes, she was no longer eager to share their bed. It was complicated and something he did not feel like addressing with a field full of drunkards.
There was silence for a moment, like the crowd was not sure whether to pursue the unanswered questions as they contemplated the way noble standing can fall so quickly at the folly of kings.
Then someone raised their drinking horn and proposed another toast, this time to the valkyries.
“On all sides saw I | Valkyries assemble,
Ready to ride | to the ranks of the gods;
Skuld bore the shield, | and Skogul rode next,
Guth, Hild, Gondul, | and Geirskogul.
Of Herjan’s maidens | the list have ye heard,
Valkyries ready | to ride o’er the earth.”
Several men cheered, likening her to a maiden of Herjan, or outright calling her a valkyrie. Others still, thought she was more like a beserker, entering the battle with a bloodlust normally reserved for them.
Regardless, cheering returned and Ragnar moved to the edge of the fire. He gazed deeply into the flames, his thoughts distracted by the maiden he had seen. Her golden hair flicking out behind her, then her face as he had slain Frø. He chuckled to himself. She had been both relieved and angry at Frø’s death. He suspected she wanted the victory for herself, and he didn’t blame her for those thoughts. He would have been downright outraged at not being able to bring justice to a man how had wronged him. The thought of her being upset with him over Frø’s death both upset and aroused him.
He imagined kissing her, of angry sex and fiery passion. He groaned at the thought of passion, something so lacking in his current marriage. It was long into the night before he joined back in with the banter surrounding him.
Lagertha had gotten under Ragnar’s skin and his pursuit had already begun, even if the shield maiden did not know it yet.”