A fictionalised account of the life of Poppa of Bayeux,
handfasted wife of Hrólfr (Rollo) the Viking!


A brutal Viking raid heralds the dawn of a new, powerful dynasty – the House of Normandy

Neustria, Kingdom of the West Franks

AD 890

Fourteen-year-old Poppa’s life changes when Northmen land near Bayeux. Count Bérengar, her father, submits to them, and she is handfasted to Hrólfr, the Northmen’s heathen leader, as part of their agreement. 

To her relief, Hrólfr leaves immediately in search of further conquest, only returning to claim her years later. In the face of retaliating Franks, they flee to East Anglia, where she gives birth to their son and daughter.

When Hrólfr and Poppa return to reclaim Bayeux, his new campaign strikes at the heart of Frankish power, and King Charles of the West Franks offers him a pact he cannot refuse. In exchange for vast tracts of land in Neustria, Hrólfr must convert to Christianity and accept marriage to Gisela, the king’s illegitimate daughter. 

Poppa’s world shatters. She remains in Bayeux, with her daughter, Adela. When Gisela arrives one day, demanding she hand over Adela, to be raised in Rouen, Poppa’s patience is at an end. But Gisela makes for a dangerous enemy, and only one woman will survive their confrontation high up on the cliffs. 

Will Poppa survive to witness the dawn of a new era?

Ascent is the first in a new series about the early women of the House of Normandy – women whose stories have been forgotten in time. 


Readers of Viking and medieval fiction will enjoy Ascent, a fictional account of the life of Poppa of Bayeux, handfasted wife of Rollo the Viking.

“I have read several of Cathie Dunn’s novels and once again she has breathed life into the history of her chosen period…  I couldn’t put this down and read it over 4 days, so I can thoroughly recommend this book. Looking forward to the next instalment; the story of Poppa’s handfasted “daughter-in-law”, Sprota.”

~ Kate Jewell, author


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