Two threads are flawlessly woven together in this sweeping historical novel. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword; the second reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to this mission.
Based in part on the true history of the times and in part on the same Nordic legends that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle and other great works of art, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun offers readers a thrilling story of love, betrayal, passion and revenge, all set against an ancient backdrop itself gushing with intrigue. Lovers of history and fantasy alike will find realism and legend at work in Joan Schweighardt’s latest offering.
The Last Wife of Attila the Hun is a compelling story of one woman’s life, Gudrun, a Burgundian woman whose people are among the many victims of Attila the Hun. Some years after her home at Worms is destroyed, Gudrun’s dreams of a peaceful life with her love, Sigurd, are shattered by the beautiful valkyria, Brunhild. Gudrun risks what is left of her life by setting out to destroy Attila.
Schweighardt has drawn on history and poetic myth to create a context for a tale of the most basic human emotions–love, greed, jealousy, and revenge.
Although the story is set over fifteen centuries ago, these characters from the Dark Ages are revealed as people whose motivations and actions are clearly recognizable to us. After all, is the pursuit of a dragon’s gold really so different from the pursuit of an expensive sports car? Jealous lovers still lie to get what they want; families nearly destroyed by tragedy still find the will to rebuild and be happy again. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
But there’s more here than just a great page-turner of a tale. This is a story as skillfully woven as the tapestry within it. Schweighardt plays the woof of Gudrun’s time spent in the city of Attila over, under, around, and through a warp of Gudrun’s personal history, revealing the past as its impact becomes meaningful. In that way there are two stories of Gudrun’s life here–the events that forged her character, and the use the fates made of that steely determination. It is fascinating to read the two intertwined. I believe this book has the potential to be a bestseller.