A Times Book of the Year 2021
Dr Cat Jarman is a bioarchaeologist and field archaeologist specialising in the Viking Age, Viking women, and Rapa Nui. She uses forensic techniques like isotope analysis, carbon dating, and DNA analysis on human remains to untangle the experiences of past people from broader historical narratives. Dr Jarman has contributed to numerous TV documentaries as both an on-screen expert and historical consultant, including programmes for the BBC, Channel 4, History, Discovery, and more.
A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER (September 2021)
'A masterly history ... River Kings is a mystery and an
adventure, the tale of a quest that took Jarman from Repton to
Scandinavia, across the Baltic Sea, over to Baghdad and finally to
India. I was held captive ... In addition to being a wonderful
writer, Jarman is a skilled bioarchaeologist ... River Kings is
like a classical symphony, perfectly composed and exquisitely
performed. Tiny trills of detail give way to pounding drums of
Gerard deGroot, The Times
'Cat Jarman will transform the way you think about the Vikings' Dan Snow
'A bead was discovered in a Viking warrior's grave, and that
discovery led Cat Jarman on an amazing journey which is described
in this extraordinary story. That bead, in Cat Jarman's hands,
taught me more about the Vikings than a score of history books.
River Kings is an astonishing and compelling triumph!'
'Will cast a spell on any reader who enjoys their history well-written and clearly argued. Just as Antony Beevor's Stalingrad reminded us that the eastern front of WW2 was of far greater consequence than its western theatre, so Jarman shows how the westward trading and slaving voyages of the Vikings were only half the story. The real source of Viking wealth lay far to the east.' WILLIAM DALRYMPLE, FT
'A thrilling read ... Illuminates Viking culture in an utterly
intriguing new light'
'An extraordinarily imaginative conjuring of the Viking world
... This is not archaeology as dry stones and bones, but as the
lived lives of the people of the past brought to life with verve,
style and sympathetic imagination. Beautifully written ... You'll
never see the Viking Age in the same way again'
'Starting with an enigmatic carnelian bead, Cat Jarman reveals
how her own research has contributed to a completely new
understanding of the Vikings ... A brilliantly, beautifully told