The Dragons of the Rhine

Diana L. Paxson, Author William Morrow & Company $23 (371p) ISBN 978-0-688-13986-5
This sometimes grim but always gripping retelling of the tragedy of Sigfrid and Brunahild, a sequel to The Wolf and the Raven, depicts the doomed lovers, and their royal spouses, in warm and sympathetic terms, with maybe a touch too modern a sensibility. Sigfrid, having vowed to return to Brunahild, whom he knows as Sigdrifa, comes to the land of the Burgunds on the banks of the Rhine, where he is welcomed by the king, Gundohar. The queen mother, Grimahild, a wisewoman of the old beliefs, gives Sigfrid a potion to destroy his love for Brunahild and direct it instead to her daughter Gudrun. After a nomadic and hunted childhood, Sigfrid is overjoyed to become part of a family. He agrees to help Gundohar win Brunahild, who keeps suitors at bay while awaiting Sigfrid by declaring she will wed only the man who can defeat her. A disguised Sigfrid wins the bride for Gundohar, although he is then horror-struck to discover her true identity. Brunahild's feelings of betrayal, Sigfrid's sense of honor and the king and his brother Hagano's growing jealousy begin the spiral to destruction. Paxson vividly brings to life the northern Europe of the early fifth century, poised between the new Christian religion and the ancient gods, between the nomadic roaming of tribal life and the more comfortable settlements established by the still-viable Roman Empire. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/1995
Release date: 01/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 371 pages - 978-0-380-76527-0
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