top of page

A Strong Defiant Warrior Princess - an Editorial Review of "The Wolf Queen"

Book Blurb:

Germania Magna, 8 CE

Thusnelda, princess and warrior of the Cherusci, chafes under the Roman occupation of her ancestral Germanic lands. High taxes, subjugation, and barbaric punishments have cowered too many of her people. 

Thusnelda will now defy her supposed Roman masters.

When her long lost childhood love, Arminius, returns in a legionary uniform at the right hand of the Roman territorial governor, Thusnelda is disgusted by his betrayal. But beneath his polished Roman facade lies the soul of a warrior who never forgot his homeland.

Together Thusnelda and Arminius light the spark of rebellion. Not everyone wants to see Rome ousted, though, and their biggest opponent may have the power to stop the rebellion before it starts: Thusnelda's father.

Betrothed to the prince of another tribe, Thusnelda must resist Arminius' advances as she struggles to choose the cause of her people over the desires of her heart.

If she makes the wrong choice, they risk having no army at all when they face off against three legions in the infamous, audacious Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.

Book Buy Link:

Author Bio:

Marie is a Florida native, California transplant, and has lived almost everywhere between. She’s been writing stories since she could hold a pen, but didn’t get serious until she joined the Marines in 2009 as a Combat Correspondent. After five years telling Marine Corps stories, she knew it was time to start telling stories of her own.

Marie currently lives in New Orleans with her fur family; three delightful cats and one questionable chihuahua mix.

Editorial Review:

My damned brothers wouldn’t leave me to milk the goats alone again. Cursing with each step, I ran out of the roundhouse and down the path to my family’s corral, bare feet slapping in the dust.

So help me, I would drag them back by their ears and tie them to farm tools. Though the twins were only six years to my nine, every day they grew in strength and height, and speed, damn them. If I could just wrangle Levin to a shovel, he’d be forced to help me. I could worry about catching Lennart later.

From the first lines of the prologue, we are pulled into a strong story. The emotions of our narrator come through well, as we are transported to Germania Magna, Cherusci tribal lands, circa 6 BCE. From there, we are launched forward to 8 CE, a time when the shadow of the Roman Empire loomed over the Germanic tribes.

The center of this story revolves around Thusnelda, a princess and warrior of the Cherusci tribe, whose fierce spirit and unyielding resolve challenge the oppressive Roman occupation of her homeland. McCurdy skillfully writes a story that is a very personal journey of love, devotion, and disobedience as well as a monument to the unwavering determination of a people fighting for independence.

The book also starts off with a glossary that will be very helpful as you read through the book to make sure you understand all of the terms used correctly.

The novel's opening sentence effectively establishes the tone for the narrative right away. McCurdy's storytelling prowess is evident in her ability to pull readers into Thusnelda's world right away. The environment and stakes are depicted effectively in the opening paragraphs, which are full of atmospheric detail.

Her hand smoothed over her massive belly in the unspoken reminder that at this stage in her pregnancy, sitting in the shade by a calm river was second only to remaining in bed all day. Three different midwives agreed it was another set of twins, what with how large her belly had grown so early in her pregnancy.

Papa frowned behind her. We all knew he’d prefer it if she remained abed all day until the time came, not walking down to the river shore and certainly not overseeing the day’s training. She’d barely survived the twins’ births, and her last two babies had died in the womb. It wasn’t uncommon but Mama was a hearty and muscular woman with the soul of a warrior, and she wouldn’t be taken from us so easily. My Mama wouldn’t die without a sword in her hands.

"The Wolf Queen" has a gripping plot that combines historical details with the nuanced emotions of its protagonists. We see this as our main character talks about her pregnant mother. And we see it in the many scenes that come after. Many of these moments are also foreshadowing, weaving the pieces of the story together beautifully, and sometimes painfully.

It is a story that is sometimes difficult to read, for the great sadness. But it is one that most definitely needs to be told. The main plot point of the book is the growing uprising against Rome, spearheaded by Thusnelda and her childhood sweetheart Arminius, who disguises his return from Rome as a liberator rather than a conqueror. A personal interest in the epic scope of the uprising is added by their complex relationship, which has been tarnished by treachery and ignited by a shared hope of liberty. From the opening to the last page, McCurdy captures readers’ attention with her use of drama and tension as she skillfully navigates these choppy waters.

The book is well formatted and edited, making for a smooth reading experience. The story is expertly constructed, demonstrating McCurdy’s attention to detail. It moves smoothly as it leads the reader through the complex political and cultural scene of ancient Germania. The manuscript’s overall quality is unaffected by the small editing errors that are there.

One of the novel’s most notable aspects is the evolution of the characters. As she struggles to balance her responsibilities to her people, her own desires, and the nuances of her relationship with Arminius, Thusnelda develops into a multifaceted heroine. The man himself, Arminius, is an intriguing figure—a man torn between two civilizations who finds it difficult to reconcile his Germanic heritage with his Roman allegiance. The Roman enemies and Thusnelda’s family are among the excellent supporting character members who give the narrative more depth and complexity.

Tonight, our priestesses would sacrifice the largest aurochs in the tribe and others would offer their personal sacrifices in the way of small animals, grains, corn, and personal property. Whenever I had a moment of time, I had spent the winter shaping and honing a beautiful spear for just this purpose. The oak shaft gleamed as though it emitted its own light, and the meticulous patterns carved into the spearhead marked it as a work of devotion.

Each event in the story makes sense and flows into the next, giving the narrative a strong sense of continuity. McCurdy expertly strikes a balance between the historical setting and the individual protagonists' adventures, so that the greater context of the Germanic uprising enriches rather than overshadows the individual tales.

The plot of "The Wolf Queen" is cleverly written, with a beginning, middle, and finish that are consistent with the growth of the characters and the progression of historical events. The characters' psychological development and the rebellion's crescendo are deftly combined, building to a dramatic and emotionally impactful finale.

"The Wolf Queen" is notable for offering a distinctive viewpoint on a critical juncture in history. In contrast to most Roman-centric historical fiction, McCurdy presents a narrative voice by emphasizing the Germanic tribes and their struggle against Roman domination. The novel is also distinguished by the presence of a strong female heroine who offers a nuanced examination of gender, power, and identity in ancient civilization.

McCurdy's writing is outstanding; she skillfully combines precise historical research with poetic words. The language in the book is genuine, the descriptions are vivid, and the pacing is expertly done. McCurdy gives the ancient world alive via Thusnelda's eyes, displaying a deep comprehension of the period. Her respectful and inventive handling of real people and events elevates "The Wolf Queen" above other historical fiction.

Without giving anything away, "The Wolf Queen" has a touching and gratifying conclusion. Despite not sugarcoating the brutal facts of history, McCurdy leaves readers feeling hopeful and looking forward to what lies ahead.

In summary, Marie McCurdy's "The Wolf Queen" is a masterwork of historical fiction that provides readers with a glimpse into a world of intrigue, conflict, and romance from antiquity.


“The Wolf Queen” by Marie McCurdy receives five stars and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company



To have your historical novel editorially reviewed and/or enter the HFC Book of the Year contest please visit


bottom of page