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"In 2001 a team of archaeologists began working in Skagafjord, the valley in northern Iceland where Karlsefni came from. I worked as a volunteer on the project one summer as we uncovered a house on the farm called Glaumbaer, where the sagas say Gudrid finally made her home. The floorplan of the house looks like no other found in Iceland. It most closely resembles a house at L’Anse aux Meadows.
I told the story of my summer working on the archaeological team in ‘The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman’, which was published in 2007. I thought then that I had written all I could about Gudrid the Far-Traveler. Her spirit disagreed. As soon as that book came out, I began writing this novel.At the same time, I was working on my nonfiction book The Abacus and the Cross: The Story of the Pope Who Brought the Light of Science to the Dark Ages, so, not surprisingly, one of Pope Gerbert’s students, Father Gausbert, managed to become a character in Gudrid’s story. I was also beginning to become interested in the Lewis chessmen, the walrus-ivory chess pieces on which Karlsefni’s set were modeled. That interest ultimately grew into my next book, ‘Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the Most Famous Chessmen in the World and the Woman Who Made Them.’"