• The Dark Queens

  • The Bloody Rivalry That Forged the Medieval World
  • By: Shelley Puhak
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (62 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“A well-researched and well-told epic history. The Dark Queens brings these courageous, flawed, and ruthless rulers and their distant times back to life.” (Margot Lee Shetterly, New York Times best-selling author of Hidden Figures)

The remarkable, little-known story of two trailblazing women in the Early Middle Ages who wielded immense power, only to be vilified for daring to rule.

Brunhild was a foreign princess, raised to be married off for the sake of alliance-building. Her sister-in-law Fredegund started out as a lowly palace slave. And yet - in sixth-century Merovingian France, where women were excluded from noble succession and royal politics was a blood sport - these two iron-willed strategists reigned over vast realms, changing the face of Europe.

The two queens commanded armies and negotiated with kings and popes. They formed coalitions and broke them, mothered children and lost them. They fought a decades-long civil war - against each other. With ingenuity and skill, they battled to stay alive in the game of statecraft and in the process laid the foundations of what would one day be Charlemagne's empire. Yet after the queens' deaths - one gentle, the other horrific - their stories were rewritten, their names consigned to slander and legend.

In The Dark Queens, award-winning writer Shelley Puhak sets the record straight. She resurrects two very real women in all their complexity, painting a richly detailed portrait of an unfamiliar time and striking at the roots of some of our culture's stubbornest myths about female power. The Dark Queens offers proof that the relationships between women can transform the world.

©2022 Shelley Puhak (P)2022 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Dark Queens

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Lost in the names!

Great history and narration. However I struggled to keep the characters straight. This was not the fault of the author. In the medieval times names were not John and Mary! I skipped ahead at the end as I grew tired of the wars and grisly detailed deaths. The narrator does a great job with those names and the author needed to add what she added for history. I would recommend this book especially if you are patient!

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Thought about this book all the time!

Even though it was sometimes hard to catch the names of all of the kings ( I listened in my convertible with the top down), it was so fascinating that I would take the long way home. The writing wasn’t perfect, but the narrator more than made up for it.

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Loved it!

At this time when women all over the globe need to raise their voice, this history is a caution to us to work together, not in opposition.

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This!!

is like the 50th book ive read in the past year and a half, of midieval history and not going to lie! I loved it. Its all absolutely fascinating to me. I believe this book needs to be turned into another historical based tv series. These two women deserve to be highlighted in the modern craze of midieval shows and dramas. Brunhilda's marriage to her demise being the beginning and end of the show. I would put this as a must read for those, like me, whom are just in love with learning and reading deep into the history of all of our ancestors and greats of the past! I cannot say it enough, I loved listening to this book! I will be buying a tangible copy as well! MAJOR KUDOS to Shelley Puhak for this masterpiece 👏

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fantastic hidden history

a fantastic hidden history of two formidable and unknown dark age queens. the narration expertly illuminates and brings the text to the ear

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women who kicked ass and took names

Gorgeous history that reveals a collection of powerful and fierce women. They shaped their era and then historians tried to vanish. The cultural echoes never went away.