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Founder, Fighter, Saxon Queen (ePub)

Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians

Military P&S History > Medieval World > Medieval History Women of History

By Margaret C Jones
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 3.7 MB (.epub)
Pages: 182
ISBN: 9781526733979
Published: 3rd August 2018


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Alfred the Great’s daughter defied all expectations of a well-bred Saxon princess. The first Saxon woman ever to rule a kingdom, Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians, led her army in battle against Viking invaders. She further broke with convention by arranging for her daughter to succeed her on the throne of Mercia.

To protect her people and enable her kingdom in the Midlands to prosper, Aethelflaed rebuilt Chester and Gloucester, and built seven entirely new English towns. In so doing she helped shape our world today.

This book brings Aethelflaed’s world to life, from her childhood in time of war to her remarkable work as ruler of Mercia. The final chapter traces her legend, from medieval paintings to novels and contemporary art, illustrating the impact of a legacy that continues to be felt to this day.

Review by Jill Roden

A very accessible read which includes lists of primary and secondary sources.

Battlefield Trust magazine

Aethelflaed is one of my favorite historical woman and I loved reading a new book about her and her influence in Saxon England.

NetGalley, Melisa Safchinsky

An interesting biography of such an obscure figure. The biography was focused and didn't go of on a tangent despite how little written information there is about Aethelflaed. I loved learning about her influence on the Midlands and the towns we have now.

NetGalley, Kristin Davison

I absolutely LOVED this book! I sat and read it in one sitting. It is not very long, about 208 pages, but it was well done. History is a major love of mine, and so for someone to be able to bring new information, or expand on older information, to the table, and present it in a way that it can be learned from and expanded upon is awesome. I have not heard much of this woman before reading this book. She was just a footnote in ONE of the many history classes that I took when working on my degrees. I hope that ya’ll enjoy this book as much as I have!

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A Tale of Two Pages

Its very readable, and gives just about the right amount of information not to bog the reader down.

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Amazon Customer, Joanna Arman

Published a few months after the 1100th anniversary commemorations last year, Margaret C. Jones book was a timely contribution to the history of Aethelflaed.
Its a short book, at just over 150 pages not including notes and bibliography, but packed full of useful information. What's more interesting is that it does not just cover Aethelflaed brief career as a war leader, but also her childhood, her foundations of churches and devotion to Saint's cults, the period of over a decade in which she ruled Mercia jointly with her husband.

I for one believe they had a good relationship, defined by mutual co-operation. He was not an abuser, nor a useless and incompetent ruler.
So, 'Fighter, Founder Saxon Queen' provides a well rounded picture of Aethelflaed's life, career and legacy, placed in the context of her times without being anachronistic. The maps prove useful, and the guide at the the end which lists all the towns and cities in which monuments or buildings associated with her can be found is ideal for modern history buffs who want to walk in her footsteps.

Of course, on a personal level I appreciate the fact that Ms. Jones consulted and cited my own book on Aethelflaed a number of times.

NetGalley, Joanna Arman

I enjoyed the writing style and it makes me thoroughly wish we knew more of this formidable lady. Perhaps not quite so relevant, I particularly liked the cover art.

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A History of Royal Women

As featured by

Runcorn Love Local, 1st April 2019

I recommend this for anyone interested in Anglo-Saxon history.

NetGalley, reviewed by Lauralee Jacks

As featured by

Ripperologist, January 2019 – reviewed by Paul Begg

The book is short and pleasant to read.

VaeVictis, January/February 2019

Revisiting history to highlight the overlooked role of women is very much in tune with modern times and Athelflaed is a worthy subject for the treatment, as Jones makes clear.

Shropshire Star, 28th December 2018 - reviewed by David Banner

Here’s a magnificent account of one of the pricipal characters in Bernard Cornwell’s Magnum Opus, the Dark Ages of Britain chronicles – Aethelflaed emerges just as significant a character in real life as she is in Bernard’s superb series of novels. I had no idea how instrumental she was in creating my home town of Gloucester, which comes as something of a genuine shock and a revelation to me. Margaret’s account of the life of Queen Aethelflaed of Mercia is as readable as Bernard’s books, and adds so much to what we know from his fictional accounts of her amazing life.

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Books Monthly

TDCS Aelfwyn event publicity as featured by

Tamworth Herald, 29th November/5th December 2018

Reading this book, a tempting introduction to the Anglo Saxon period, I was left thinking this is a woman who would be equally at home in today’s world and one I would dearly like to meet.

Bradway Bugle, Winter 2018

Article: 'Warrior queen who was a Shropshire town planner' as featured by

Shrewsbury Chronicle, 15th November 2018 - words by Toby Neal

Article: 'Warrior queen who was a Shropshire town planner' as featured by

Bridgnorth Journal/Market Drayton Advertiser, 8th November 2018 – words by Toby Neal

All-and-all, a short, interesting, and delightful read that offers a really refreshing view on a time period that is completely dominated by Alfred the Great.

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The Renaissance Troll Blog

Article: 'Warrior tales from 1,000 years ago: Majestic rise of our own battle queen' as featured by

Shropshire Star, 5th November 2018 – words by Toby Neal

Click here to listen to author interview

NOTE: set cursor to 17:14

BBC Radio Leicester, 21st October 2018 - with presenter Bridget Blair filling in for Dave Andrews

Fascinating historical tale.

The Armourer, November 2018

... take this book to your favorite fireside chair and you will soon find yourself lost in its pages. For those who have developed an appetite to learn more about this incredible woman following on from this year's celebrations in Gloucester and Tamworth, this is an essential guide to her life and conquests.

Cotswold Life, October 2018

Click here to listen to author interview

NOTE: set cursor to 2:20:57

BBC Radio Shropshire, 15th September 2018 - with presenter Eric Smith

Article: 'Worcester Cathedral connection for author Margaret Jones' new book on Aethelflaed'

Worcester News (online & print), 11th September 2018

I liked the structure of the book. It followed the life of the queen clear through without back tracking or anything. Sometimes I really don’t like how books jump around from time period to timer period or person to person. Margaret set out on a mission to give us a look into Aethelflaed’s life and that is just what she did.

NetGalley, reviewed by Shelly Myers

As featured by

The Oxford Times, 30th August 2018

I really enjoyed reading this book on Aethelflaed, a historical queen I didn't know anything about. It is a wonderful introduction into the Anglo-Saxon period for non-historians, but also follows the standards of the field well enough not to make academics cringe, as many popular history books do.

NetGalley, reviewed by Fabienne Schwizer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was fantastic and one that deserves to be read!

NetGalley, reviewed by Rebecca Hill

I do like history books that tell us about female leaders and this is another excellent one. Despite the difficulty in finding accurate resources for this time period I think the author has really managed to bring Aethelflaed to life and give us an interesting insight into what life could have been like in this time period.

It's an easy to read account of someone who was our first Queen (before Mary and Elizabeth) and I really enjoyed it.

NetGalley, reviewed by Kirsty White

Knowing nothing of Aethelflaed before, this book was a joy to read and is chock full of fascinating info on her life, society, culture, and accomplishments. There is only so much that is known about Aethelflaed, and I found that when the author offered conjecture, it was posed as a question instead of just an assumption. Often with history books the author wants us to believe their opinion is the right one. Too often a writer likes to say "probably, they believed such and such." Jones avoids this and is open minded about what may or may not have passed through Aetheflaed's mind. She has infused her book with creative retellings about important moments in Aetheflaed's life, which were in turn important to the eventual unification of England.

NetGalley, reviewed by M. Blackwood

This was overall a well-written and enjoyable book.

NetGalley, reviewed by Leslie Jaszczak

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

The writing is easy to follow and it draws you in. One of the best historical biographies I've read in a long while.

Thoroughly researched and well structured.

NetGalley, reviewed by Sarah English

Jones organises the book more thematically than chronologically, which I think is a good choice, as Aethelflaed is viewed through a variety of lenses: as a woman of her time, as the organiser of military defenses, as Alfred's daughter, and as a subject of contemporary art and fiction. It's a multifaceted view of a fascinating woman.

NetGalley, reviewed by Isis C

I can see what the author was trying to do with Founder, Fighter, Saxon Queen and I admire the idea. I can tell she has done extensive research and is passionate about the subject of Aethelflaed. I did learn a tremendous amount as I was not very familiar with Anglo-Saxon history. The writing is clear and easy to read, enriched with a few quotes, a guide to places where Aethelflaed can be found these days and beautiful illustrations. I also always appreciate notes in a history book.

NetGalley, reviewed by Camille Brown

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Aetheflaed was a Saxon princess. She is known as Lady of the Mercians. She didn't want to be just a princess, she wanted to battle for her people. She didn't just give orders from afar, she was actually with her soldiers in battle. She also made sure her daughter would follow in her footsteps and be a warrior also.

This book has some fascinating facts about her life. As a child, as as a fighter and as a Queen. The author has researched her material extensively, which makes for interesting facts.
I definitely recommend this book. Aetheflaed was an extraordinary woman. A woman that is an example of strength and courage.

NetGalley, reviewed by Doris Vandruff

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Superbly written and very informative I really enjoyed this book. It's difficult to find an accessible and well written non fiction title of this genre, but this book surpassed my expectations. Highly recommended.

NetGalley, reviewed by MARGARET LEONARD

Overall, a good short biography about a historical figure who is often at times forgotten.

NetGalley, reviewed by Serena Stone

All-in-all, this is an entertaining and informative, if somewhat superficial, biography of Aethelflaed, Queen of Mercia.

NetGalley, reviewed by Michaela Kneidinger

If you like Anglo-Saxon history then you’ll probably like this. If you like feminist histories then you’ll definitely like this.

NetGalley, reviewed by Jennifer Orton

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In all then this is a book that should go down well with many, and bring to life a remarkable woman, not only of her period, but who would also be so today.

NetGalley, reviewed by Martin Dowden

About Margaret C Jones

Margaret C. Jones received her PhD from Purdue University in 1989. She has taught English literature – ‘from Beowulf to Virginia Woolf’ – at universities in the USA, Egypt and the UK. She is author of Heretics and Hellraisers, a study of American women radicals in the early twentieth century.

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