gudrid

The Saga of Gudrid the Far-Traveler

Nancy Marie Brown

The story behind the saga!

“Father,” Gudrid said, “when winter is over, my husband and I want to explore this Wine Land. Will you lend us your ship?” The room fell dead quiet. She could feel the hush. Her father put down his knife and looked at her, astonished. “One shipwreck is not enough?”

The quiet domestic life—spinning yarn, making cheese and skyr, collecting herbs for tea—might have been enough for other young women, but it was not enough for Gudrid, daughter of Thorbjorn of Laugarbrekka. If Leif Eiriksson could sail west and find a rich new land, why not Gudrid? What else lay beyond the western edge of the world the Vikings knew?

The medieval Icelandic sagas recorded the bare bones of Gudrid’s story, hinting at the adventures and accomplishments that would make her a legend for a thousand years. Now, in The Saga of Gudrid the Far-Traveler, Nancy Marie Brown fills in the details, creating an engaging portrait of an extraordinary young woman determined to make her own way in a world dominated by men, using her wits, her imagination, and her courage.


  • Ages: 12 up
  • Grades: 6-12
  • Pages: 204
  • Hardcover: $19.95
  • Softcover: $9.95
  • E-book: $8.95

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Recent Reviews

Gudrid is instantly a compelling character, and Brown’s elegant, lyrical writing reflects the historical context of this novel, firmly embedding Gudrid into a time when even mildly independent thoughts were considered scandalous for a girl, let alone brazen intelligence and daring. It’s an immersive novel, and readers will leave with a clear understanding of not only big, historical moments but also the details of everyday life and chores.

—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

The wealth of detail about early Icelandic seafaring culture—including gender roles and the division of labor, house construction, food preservation, clothing styles and adornment, treasure, the church, and inheritance laws—could carry the story on its own. It’s Gudrid’s strong will, hard work, and passion for exploration, however, that will resonate authentically with adventure-seeking young readers.

—The Horn Book

As the story of a young woman bucking traditional roles and exploring her world and the world abroad, it makes for intriguing historical fiction.

—Publishers Weekly

Well-written, thoroughly researched and adventure-filled, this story of a determined and very human young woman is timeless.

—Kirkus Reviews

Teens who are intrigued by medieval history will find much of interest in Gudrid and wish to know more.

—VOYA

[T]his book will have an appeal to readers with an interest in Norse history, and it comes complete with an author's note explaining what is known of Gudrid's identity and life. The narrative includes frequent brief but vivid descriptions of the Scandinavian setting, including a walrus hunt, sightings of the Northern Lights, and the final journey toward Wine Land where 'The gray cliffs unrolled against the sky. [The ship] cut cleanly through the green sea, kicking up ripples.'

—School Library Journal