Daughter of a Thousand Years

11 CDs. 14:21 hrs. Brilliance. Feb. 2017. ISBN 9781531868260. $14.99. 1 MP3-CD, digital download. F
Mary Robinette Kowal creates distinctive voices for the many characters in Carosella's (Helen of Sparta) dual narrative of Freydis, daughter of Erik the Red, and contemporary Emma, a woman of Icelandic descent. The author explores themes of religious tolerance, freedom, and the challenges women face. Chapters move back and forth in history as Freydis and Emma both face pressure to hide or give up their Nordic religion. Freydis faces frustration as a woman in 1000 CE. Though she wants to sail and explore, like her brothers, she's married off to a man who supports her father but whom she does not love. But Freydis is a strong, even fearsome woman. She fights convention and strikes a deal to obtain her own ship and travels to Vinland (modern-day Newfoundland) with the man who truly holds her heart. While remaining true to her father and his faith, she faces demands to give up her Norse gods as much of Iceland and her own family become Christian. Carosella knows her mythology, and Freydis's story is close to what emerges through the Vinland sagas. Meanwhile, history professor Emma fights custom in her own way in the modern world. She becomes embroiled in controversy when a student accuses her of discriminating against Christians. While the allegation is untrue, Emma's job is on the line and the situation creates trouble for her family, especially her father, a conservative Catholic congressman running for reelection.
VERDICT Listeners are in good hands as Kowal brings to life Carosella's compelling Viking story. The author deftly connects this classic myth to present-day issues. Recommended.

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