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The War Queens by Rebecca Hazell: A Book Review

The War Queens

Author: Rebecca Hazell

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Tellwell Talent

Release Date: 2023

Pages: 496

Source: This book was given to me by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: By the sixth century, the Roman Empire is already lost to tribal invasions, brutal Merovingian Franks have seized Gaul from the civilized Romanized Visigoths, and a dark age has descended across Europe. Now a deadly rivalry arises between two Merovingian queens. Brunhilda and Fredegunda are equals in beauty and intelligence, but opposite in vision and temperament. When the Franks demand a royal bride, Visigoth Brunhilda marries into a world that despises women. Suddenly thrust into power and repeatedly facing loss and grief, she seeks to revive a new Rome based on justice and prosperity. Her implacable foe, Fredegunda, is a former slave concubine who lives only for personal power. Insanely jealous of high-born Brunhilda, she uses seduction, assassination, war, and even witchcraft in her campaign to destroy her. Can Brunhilda survive this onslaught of evil? Can her vision survive?


     My Review: The War Queens tells of the bitter rivalry between two queens, Brunhilda and Fredegund. Brunhilda was a princess of Hispania. She marries King Sigebert of Austrasia. Her sister, Galswintha, marries King Chilperic of Neustria. However, King Chilperic quickly grows tired of her and favored his slave concubine, Fredegund. In order to become queen, Fredegund murders Galswintha. Brunhilda vows to avenge her sister’s death. She is determined to destroy Queen Fredegund.


   Brunhilda is the protagonist of The War Queens. Brunhilda is shown having a close relationship with her sister, Galswintha. Brunhilda also wants to be a loving wife and to produce a son for her husband. When her sister dies, Brunhilda desires vengeance. She has a grudge against King Chilperic and Queen Fredegund. I also like how Brunhilda later on grows to be a very strong queen. She becomes more powerful throughout the course of the novel. Thus, I found her to be very likable.


    Queen Fredegund is the antagonist. I didn’t like her. She seemed very one-dimensional and was given little depth. I would have liked her to have been more complex. Instead, Fredegund is very selfish. She only thinks about her own wants. She is very power-hungry, lustful, and greedy. Thus, I didn’t find her story to be very interesting.


    Overall, this novel is about rivalry, power, and war. I thought all of the supporting characters were very complex. I thought The War Queens was meticulously researched. I thought the author did an excellent job in making the sixth century Europe come alive! The main drawback about this book was that it was mostly told rather than shown. Nevertheless, The War Queens was a very mesmerizing read! It had courtly intrigue, scandal, and drama! It read like a soap opera! I recommend this novel for fans of The Dark Queens, Queen of the Darkest Hour, and The Lost Queen!


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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