Not the Minnesota football team with iconic horned helmets.

I mean the menacing men of the Dark Ages who never wore a horn on their heads.

If you want your alpha males wielding Norse hammers and riding in Drakkar ships, you’re in luck.

History Channel network tapped writer Michael Hirst, famed for HBO’s Tudors and the film Elizabeth, to bring the mighty Norsemen to the small screen summer of 2013. Actor Gabriel Byrne signed on to the project, filing on location in Ireland and Northern Europe. The medieval set drama follows ninth century Viking Ragnar Lothbrok’s ascent to king.

What does this mean for historical romance readers? Will they be left out in the cold without a Viking book to read? Or will publishers ride the tide from the North Sea?

Remember Braveheart?  The 1995 movie helped feed the frenzy for braw, kilted men in romance. Readers still find “Highland” and “Highlander” on bookstore shelves. Maybe it’s time to turn historical romance’s clock back a few centuries from William Wallce’s era to the Viking heydays of AD 800 – 1100.

So, what about hearty Norsemen? Titles in the Viking romance sub-genre have trickled to almost nothing, yet romance is alive and well in America. RWA reports that romance fiction was responsible for 14.3% of the consumer market in 2011 — the largest share of our nation’s consumer market!

Isn’t it time to make room for some Viking’s on bookstore shelves?

Hopefully with Michael Hirst shedding light on one ninth century alpha male, readers will crave more Viking stories, stories that crack open Norse culture. Norse men and women have a rich, cultural history of artisanship, farming, and even planting seeds of democracy. Renowned ship builders and traders, Vikings spanned the known and unknown world. Adventure’s in their blood.

And we readers crave adventuring heroes.

One thousand years ago, Danes invaded England. They ousted AEthelred the Unready and changed the course of English history in AD 1013.

Now’s the time to act.

Will publishers be ready in 2013?

What’s your favorite era of history?  Why?