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The Widow Queen

(The Bold #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  988 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Elzbieta Cherezinska's The Widow Queen is the epic story of a Polish queen whose life and name were all but forgotten until now.

The bold one, they call her—too bold for most.

To her father, the great duke of Poland, Swietoslawa and her two sisters represent three chances for an alliance. Three marriages on which to build his empire.

But Swietoslawa refuses to be simply a paw
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published April 6th 2021 by Tor/Forge Books (first published June 6th 2016)
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Alex It's not fantasy, it's based on history. So also nerdy, but in different way :p It's very well written and easy to read. If your friend likes history,…moreIt's not fantasy, it's based on history. So also nerdy, but in different way :p It's very well written and easy to read. If your friend likes history, drama, intrigues , romance, vikings and strong female characters then I would definitely recommend it for her. I also like GoT and Eragon, and I enjoyed this book as well - it's just a good book. On the other hand I might be biased, because I'm polish, so it might be because it's about part of my country's history I didn't know much (less)
Robin Tauer This book is "1 of 1" according to Amazon. There is a very strong indication that there is more to come. She has written quite a few books but this se…moreThis book is "1 of 1" according to Amazon. There is a very strong indication that there is more to come. She has written quite a few books but this seems to be the only one translated into English. If there were a next book, I would have already started it!(less)

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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
To be bold shows courage, but it also requires calculating risk. The Widow Queen offers both, wrapped in an ethereal, atmospheric blanket of history and what reminds me of a bit of magic. Our heroine appears as a teenager over 1,000 years ago in Poland. She's the sister of the heir to the throne, but with Europe and Asia at war on multiple levels, alliances are the most critical way to ensure your future. Swietoslawa has a brother, as well as two half-sisters and probably other siblings. Dependi ...more
David Putnam
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Caught between a three star and four and rounded up. I read across all genres, I will read any fiction and nonfiction if its well written. And still my favorite books of all time are historical; Lonesome Dove, Pillars of the Earth, River God, Shogun, Centennial, and Youngblood Hawk. This book could easily be five stars. The story is well drawn. The first chapters establish the characters and set up the political landscape of the time, excellent conflict, conflict at every turn. I would highly re ...more
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
I just found out I'll be getting an ARC of this and I am SO excited

Polish GoT with a bad-ass queen??? I'm THERE
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
finally, someone heard my prayers for more translated novels

thank you to the publisher for kindly sending me a review copy! <3
Amy Imogene Reads
Feb 03, 2021 marked it as to-read
Strong Polish queen in medieval times fights the good fight and viciously holds onto her crown when the king dies?? Sign me UP.

Thank you to TOR/Forge for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Widow Queen is an uniquely written, superb, historical fiction masterpiece set in the time period from 984 A.D. - 997 A.D. The fascinating yarn it weaves, grabs hold of you from the beginning to the end.

Reminiscent of a "literary game of chess", the story centers around the Piast Dynasty. Duke Mieszko of Poland is a ruthless leader, who seeks to expand Poland's borders through cunning, strength and his children. He's a supreme strategist, and will do whatever is necessary for the good of hi
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really well written story about the Polish Queen. It reminded me slightly of a Viking version of Game of Thrones..

I enjoyed the strength of the main character and following the story of her families rise to power. Translations are often difficult as you can often still tell it is a translation afterwards, but this one didn't really suffer from any of that. It took me a bit for me to find its footing, but once it did I really enjoyed it.

I'd totally keep reading this series and hope they translate
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is perfect for history buffs or people that loved the tv show Vikings. The bold one and her siblings story is amazing, I feel sorry how women were treated back then no more than pawns for their fathers and country. I also feel like this is a story on how christianity took over and wiped out old relations at any cost. I thoroughly loved this book I would love to see it as a movie or show as well.
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Such a fascinating story! I have read a lot of historical fiction, but nothing about this time period or part of the world. Set in the late 10th century, this intricate tale follows the rise of the Polish Queen known as “the bold one.” Both unique and engaging, it is an epic story depicting the warring families of Denmark, Sweden and Poland, their struggle to secure power and defend their faiths. I am looking forward to the second installment of captivating series!
Mary Beth (tinybookfort)
Mar 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
What a great read!

It's going to be a short review as I'm planning to post something much longer after I finish book 2 of Harda, Królowa, and thereby the whole duology.

I must tell you this, however, if the earliest history of my country had been shown to us, Poles, in this way - even fictionalised and embellished - we would have remembered it all much, much better and, what's more important, we would have BEEN INTERESTED in it from the start!!!

It's not fantasy, don't make some descriptions/review
Mar 06, 2021 rated it liked it
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Widow Queen fascinated me with its promise to shed light on a previously forgotten queen. Women who exert power, who use their wiles and cunning, but who are never remembered. And with Cherezińska's dedication I was even more in love. In many ways, this project seems like a love letter to all the women forgotten by history, who history chooses to forget. For women who are used as
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bernard Cornwell has some serious competition coming from this Polish author of historical fiction. I cannot wait for Tor to publish the English translation of this series, but alas, 2021 is still so far away. For those familiar with English history of the late 10th century, this story tells of the side of Europe Western history books tend to ignore. I imagine once translated, Ms. Cherezińska's books will stir some controversy - a Polish Princess mother to not one but two kings? And one of them ...more
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have found 'Harda' in my parents' library. When I asked about it, my mom got overly excited. She claimed it is great and absorbing so I decided to check it out. Mom was right. Almost 600 pages read almost always with bated breath. Even though the events take place in the 10th century and they revolve around wars, religion and dynasties, Cherezińska's prose is gripping and smooth. Cherezińska (the author) also creates witty characters and brilliant contexts for her story. Or rather stories. The ...more
Christine Cazeneuve
First thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced e-ARC copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

I love historical fiction - that is 95% of what I read and particularly those that are about the monarchy, all time periods and recently the Saxons and Vikings. I wanted very much to enjoy this book because of all the "noise" surrounding it. However, as hard as I tried I couldn't find myself engaged with it. I don't know if it has to do with the translation, because my husband
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy of The Widow Queen.
The Widow Queen is about several characters who either are or in the life of Świętosława, who is essentially a Polish princess. We see how these characters react to and survive the turbulent political atmosphere around the Baltic nations.
The characters were interesting, and they played off each other well to create intrigue and drama. The plot moved fast, but didn't feel rushed. The story never dragged. It kept my interest for long p
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A riveting story filled with fascinating history, court intrigue, and dynamic characters, focusing on the Piast dynasty of Poland and the Vikings in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway during the period of 984 A.D. to 997 A.D.

Told from multiple points of views, the characters are well developed where you feel each of their motivations and emotions as they are faced with difficult situations and decisions. I especially enjoyed Swietoslawa’s chapters. Even though her heart belonged to someone else, she e
Mar 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Poland, 984. Duke Mieszko I unites the lands, thus giving the birth to the first ruling dynasty of Poland namely Piast. His oldest son and heir, Boleslaw, wishes to continue his father’s legacy as the first ruler of a united Poland. His daughters are to seal a peace and alliances through marriages as daughters are meant to.

West of Poland. Sevn, the duke of Denmark is eager to take the rein of Denmark from his father as he sees his father unfit of ruling anymore. To prove his worth to his father,
Jennifer Fatula
Thank you to NetGalley and Tor/Forge Books for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

This book was interesting but also dense - there was a lot going on! It wasn't as captivating as I had hoped (though still interesting) but I am thinking some of that may be due to the translation (I would give it a little less than 4 stars, rounded up). I also felt that from the book synopsis that it was going to be solely about Swietoslawa and, while most of it did in fact revolve around her, there were man
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars it's not enough. 😊 ...more
Hannah Zunic
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you to TOR/Forge Books for sending me an ARC of The Widow Queen; I won a copy of this book from an email sweepstakes. If you want to read the full version of my review on The Widow Queen, then please check out my blog where I post new reviews every Wednesday at noon!

Sigrid Storrada, AKA Swietoslawa or Sigrid the Haughty, is an icon I didn’t know I needed. She supposedly was the Queen Consort of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and England during the late 900’s AD. Chere
A big thank you to NetGalley, Tor books, and Ms. Cherezińskafor the opportunity to read an ARC of this (translated) novel.

I guess I'm on a bit of a Viking bent this year. First the Witch's Heart by Genevieve Gornichec, and now The Widow Queen, by Cherezińska (and ably translated by Ms. Zakrzewska-Pim). I was struck by the SIZE of the book and frankly found the beginning a bit difficult as you're plunged straight into the meat of the story without a great deal of context or background.

Courtney | Novel Maven
Świętosława (pronounced shvee-in-toe-slah-vah) is one of the Duke of Poland's three daughters. As an aristocratic female in the Middle Ages, she will be married off to create an alliance with surrounding territories. Her brother Bolesław (boh-less-lahv) will succeed his father Mieszko (mee-esh-koh) as the Duke of Poland. The story takes place in the Middle Ages, beginning in the late 900s.

The other narrators in the book are men from outside Poland -- Olav Tryggvason in Rus (Russia/Belarus) and S
Amanda Hupe
“She knew that the fire could start anew at any moment. The people hadn’t put down their weapons, they were holding on to them, soiled by the body they’d destroyed. She was afraid. In this moment, she felt a fear like she had never known. A frenzied but paralyzing feeling, like all was crashing down around her at once. But she was a queen, she could not be afraid.”

The Widow Queen by Elzbieta Cherezinska is the first book in a historical epic about a Polish Queen known as, The Bold
Liz (Quirky Cat)
Apr 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-reads
If you are a fan of epic historical fantasy, then The Widow Queen, written by Elżbieta Cherezińska, is a novel that will be worth your time. However, I do want to take a minute to thank Maya Zakrzewska-Pim for translating this novel. Without that, I never would have been able to read it!

Swietoslawa was never content to follow her father’s orders. She doesn’t want to go down the same path as her sisters. She didn’t want a husband – she wanted a throne and crown of her own. She wanted to be more
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
"They say that a man should have many sons, but I say that there can never be enough daughters. Women multiply happiness, while sons-in-law are the strength of their father-in-law, and I don't need to worry about how to divide my lands between them because they themselves are adding to my victories."

The sweeping historical fiction saga is not a genre I read frequently, though I have enjoyed the ones I've read in the past. There's just something a little intimidating about a book with over 500 p
Tina long
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
My Review:⭐️⭐⭐⭐/ 5 stars

This is for fans of Game of Thrones and Viking sagas - it has all the intrigue of familial plotting, backstabbing, betrayal, forbidden love, war, and so much more. The rich Scandinavian and Polish royal history really was intriguing because I knew almost next to nothing about this time period from the 900s -1000s. Duke Miasko I is at the head of the Polish throne and Swietoslawa and his other two daughters start alliances through their strategic marriages. Through this t
Kate Eminhizer
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
The title and blurb about this book are a bit misleading as the focus is not truly on the queen but on the men vying for power. However this book was a fascinating read. In essence, the book provides the early history of four countries: Poland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. The Polish Duke Mieszko uses all of the assets available to him to strengthen and expand his country's boundaries and his influence on others. He marries a former nun and converts his country to Christianity. His three daughte ...more
Feb 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Widow Queen is a fun, detailed novel of the Middle Ages and the political schemes, alliances, and wars brokered by powerful rulers in Scandinavia. Specifically, this novel focuses on the historical figure Sigrid the Haughty, or Sigríð Storråda, who was the wife of King Eric the Victorious of Sweden and then married King Sweyn of Denmark after Eric's death. In some historical accounts, Sigrid was supposed to be the Polish princess Świętosława (I will refer to her as Sigrid in this review for ...more
A fantastic telling that leads to the beginning of the Kingdom of Poland.

This is historical fiction at it's greatest, all too often historical fiction ends up being historical romance but no such fate befell this wonderful book. Our main character is a strong female character written accurately to the period and not tweaked or modified to fit with our modern politics or views (a quality all too often lacking in HF), which lends a greater historical accuracy and feel to the character. The charact
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Elżbieta Cherezińska - polska pisarka, teatrolog, specjalizuje się w powieści historycznej.

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