Both epic and intimate, Sharon Emmerichs's extraordinary debut novel reimagines Beowulf from the perspective of a young woman reclaiming her power.
All her life, Fryda has longed to be a shield maiden, an honor reserved for Geatland’s mightiest warriors. When a childhood accident leaves her tragically injured and unfit for the battlefield, her dreams are dashed—or so she thinks. But a strange, unfathomable power is awakening within her, a power that will soon be put to the test.
For when foreign lords and chieftains descend upon Fryda’s home to celebrate her uncle King Beowulf’s fifty-year reign, she realizes not all their guests come with good intentions. Treachery is afoot, and Fryda must gather her courage to fight for her people…as a queen should—as a shield maiden would—and as only Fryda can.
But as Fryda’s power grows stronger, something ancient hears its call. For buried deep in her gilded lair, a dragon awakens…and Fryda must prove herself once and for all.
Praise for Shield Maiden:
"A heroine with a generous spirit, an unshakable will, and a dragon's fury." —H. M. Long, author of Hall of Smoke
"Casts a superb spell. Shimmering with detail, with a propulsive plot to match" —D. K. Fields, author of the Tales of Fenest trilogy
Sharon Emmerichs was born in Sweden to American parents and grew up in Wisconsin near Lake Michigan. She has been a writer all her life, from the time she scribbled 'words' and pictures on pieces of paper, stapled them together, and called it a book. Her love of stories later translated into an English degree, and then she went on to get her MA and PhD in medieval and early modern literature... and because she collects degrees the way some people collect stamps or baseball cards, she graduated with her creative writing MFA in fiction in 2021. She is an Associate Professor of Shakespeare and medieval literature in beautiful Alaska, where she lives with Juneau, the goofiest Siberian husky ever.
"Casts a superb spell...Shimmering with detail, with a propulsive plot to match."—D. K. Fields, author of the Tales of Fenest series
"Fantastic fun...An entrancing story of power and peril, presenting a side to the sagas we have never seen before."—Ian Green, author of The Gauntlet and the Fist Beneath
"This Beowulf retelling is freshly inspired by its focus on a less-repeated part of the poem... Beowulf and mythology fans, especially young adults, will find this debut novel a fun read."—Library Journal
"Emmerichs’s plotting is commendably complex...exciting twists keep the pages turning. Fryda is admirably witty and resourceful and the dash of romance adds appeal. This should win Emmerichs many fans." —Publishers Weekly
"Emmerichs' debut is a fresh and exciting expansion to the epic of Beowulf...Fiercely written, Shield Maiden will have readers begging for more of this world."—Booklist
"After a languid start rich with character development, Emmerichs changes gears, skillfully juxtaposing high-stakes action and interpersonal drama with breezy banter and sharp wit. The intricate plot thrills and inspires, fashioning a hidden history that at once honors the original Old English poem and re-contextualizes the tale, conferring new relevance. Kindhearted and fiercely feminist."—Kirkus
"Subversive and action-packed from start to finish, Shield Maiden tells the story of Beowulf from a very different perspective."—Polygon
"Well-written and immaculately researched... An enjoyable and engaging read which encourages us to question the veracity of ancient stories about extraordinary heroes."—Historical Novel Society