Puhak presents a vivid picture of how [the queens] skillfully preserved their lives, their power and their families ... History readers will be enthralled ... In this engrossing history, two queens who engage in the cutthroat world of statecraft at the dawn of the Middle Ages.
... brigns this period to life. That [Puhak] should choose to approach the Merovingians through the lens of two extraordinary women is entirely appropriate ... Puhak has constructed a detailed account of the two queens' lives and times. Inevitably, she has had to fill in certain blanks, and and specialists may balk at some of the inferences. Nevertheless, the resulting narrative manages to be both gripping and sympathetic without losing sight of the complexities of the era (and its sources) ... In the end, it's the sheer human drama that shines through most powerfully in this book. I was gripped from start to finish ... Fredegund and Brunhild were clearly extraordinary women. In Puhak, they have finally found a worthy champion.
One of the book’s aims is to recover a sense of the women’s lived experience, and the author makes strong use of vivid sensory details ... While Puhak works carefully with the few contemporary sources available, she necessarily speculates to allow readers a possible glimpse into the emotional lives of the two queens. This means frequent use of the conditional tense ... For some sticklers, this imaginative technique may grate ... Overall, however, The Dark Queens succeeds in illuminating both the lives and the political significance of Brunhild and Fredegund, despite the many efforts to suppress their deeds. Fans of historical narrative...will find enjoyment here, as well as a new perspective on the forces that shaped this tumultuous era.