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Attila's Treasure Paperback – August 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

With a doctorate in Germanic studies, Grundy is certainly well qualified to create historical fantasies from fragments of German folklore. His second romance deals with the most fragmentary body of such material, the tales of Attila the Hun. In Grundy's version, Hagar, a young Burgundian prince, is sent as a hostage to Attila's court. There he meets and becomes friendly with Walhari, a Frankish prince, and learns much of the Hun's ways, both military and shamanistic. This makes him at first a valuable friend to Attila--and then a dangerous enemy. Grundy's scholarship sometimes threatens to overwhelm the narrative, but have no doubt that a large number of readers will keep turning the pages, especially if they enjoyed his take on perhaps the best known German legendary material, Rhinegold (1994). Highly recommended to the historical fantasy audience. Roland Green

From Kirkus Reviews

In Rhinegold (1994), Grundy offered a life of Sigifrith (Wagner's Siegfried) combining anthropology and magical fantasy. Here, he recounts the early life of Hagan, who appeared in the previous book as the slayer of Sigifrith. Dour and warlike, and a staunch upholder of the old gods, young Hagan is sent as a ``foster son'' (i.e., hostage) to the camp of Attila the Hun. Hagan adapts well to the life of the camp, bonding with a fellow hostage, Waldhari, a Christianized Frank, and at the same time taking instruction from the Hun's shaman. The prowess of the two young men in battle pleases Attila, but the arrival of Hildegund, a young Gothic Christian woman whom Attila intends to wed, disrupts everything. Because of her religion and her civilized ways, she is horrified by Attila- -especially when he brings her three severed heads of Christians slain in battle as tokens of his esteem. Grundy builds up the Huns' society and religion in convincing detail throughout, as Waldhari and Hildegund eventually fall afoul of the jealous Attila. Their escape into a winter storm, carrying off his treasure, precipitates the final crisis, in which Hagan, one of the last upholders of Gothic ways against the inroads of Christianity, is forced to choose between two loyalties. The heavy irony of his final choice is that it's taken in defense of two Christians who have broken (under great provocation, to be fair) all the laws and customs of the old ways he defends. As in his previous novel, Grundy is often more taken with piling up anthropological detail than with forwarding plot, but he has a fine sense for battle scenes, and his portrayal of the pagan vision of a living universe is both convincing and emotionally effective. Strong anthropological fantasy, with well-drawn characters and great insight into the clash of cultures at a crucial point in history. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 549 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (August 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553377744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553377743
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,721,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rachel E. Watkins on October 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a companion to Rhinegold and details the events of the life of Hagan, who is sent to live with Atilla as a foster-hostage. Well written and researched like any of Grundy's novles, you find yourself transported into the time he writes of, and find yourself empathising with the charachters. Hagan, the ultimate introvert, is portraied in a sensitive and understanding way, showing the intense emotion which is felt by those who are often misunderstood, and thought to be without feeling and less than human.
The strong history in this book and wonderful descriptions of surroundings show the culture clashes experienced by the charachters within. It's a story of cross-culture friendships, and tolerance and understanding of your friends even when you don't understand or nesicarily agree with practices of your friends. It is also a story of dangerous forbidden love and longing.
As one who practices Asatru, norse religion, I was delighted at the realistic and true way in which the religions and magic are portraied. Those who enjoyed this may also be interrested to know that the author of these books is a scholar who has also writen books on Asatru under the penname 'Kveldulf Gundarsson' and his books are "Teutonic Magic" and "Teutonic Religion".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. jernegan on February 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Having experienced The Rings at the opera, I thought I would never want to know more about German mythology, but Grundy does a fine job of bringing them to life. Entertaining read, he never falls pray to that second rate writer's ploy of simply making the plot follow one battle after another, interspersed only with bedroom scenes - he made an honest attempt at characterization and I didn't find the foreign terms unsettling at all - they were usually obvious in the context. In order to get a 5, you have to live through time, like Anna Karenina, but other than that, worth reading. It gives me some small insight into the kind of fatalism behind a culture that can throw itself heart and soul into wars and lost causes seemingly springing from nothing more than a bizarre sense of fealty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is not just another "costume drama"; it's a fine example of how historical fiction should be written: entertaining but based on good historical scholarship. Equally satisfying to fans of romance and swashbuckling, Attila's Treasure also displays the author's insight into the restrictions that society, whether Pagan or Christian, puts on the individual's desires for self-fulfillment. The book's character development is such that readers can empathize with even the villains in this book. The clash between the dying Pagan culture and the rising Christian world are examined through the main characters. For example, the heathen Hagan disapproves his best friend Waldhari's betrayal of his lord for the love of Attila's woman, Hildegund. Conversely, Waldhari's strict Catholic upbringing undoubtedly must prevent him from accepting Hagan's homosexuality. Yet, unlike most of the other characters in the book, the two young princes' comradeship and mutual trust, forged in sharing the warrior's life, ultimately prove stronger than their differences in religious faith and culture.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ashley Megan VINE VOICE on May 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
My god, am I a sucker for angst. The right combination of tortured psyche and stoic heroism can literally make me weak in the knees. I swoon for the emotionally unavailable yet irresistible: William Wallace, Fox Mulder.... and now Hagan Gebicung.

This is just to show that no, you don't have to be a "man's man" to enjoy this book. (???) Nor should Hagan's bisexuality be at all off-putting, because I have never met a sexier one-eyed psychotic than in Stephen Grundy's "Attila's Treasure". If you've read Grundy's previous work (this book is less a sequel than a side-quel, taking place concurrently with "Rhinegold") and were somewhat annoyed by Sigifrith's idiotic charm, while being intrigued by the murderous, mysterious Hagan - well, pull up a chair, 'cause you've got 528 pages of him all to yourself.

Hagan, a Burgundian prince, is sent as a "frith-bonder" (peace hostage) to Attila the Hun. This sounds, on the surface, like some exquisite form of medieval torture, and indeed Hagan is at first miserable. Yet he quickly finds himself acclimating to the Hunnish way of life, which is both alien and familiar to the Germanic tribes. Set shortly before the fall of Rome, when a delicate balance had Europe trembling on the edge between Roman Christianity, German Paganism, and the looming influx of Eastern nomad tribes, this novel sweeps you back to an era of savagery and honor.

A few things - first, another reviewer was upset because he thought the Goths were referred to as "Aryans", which he felt was both tasteless and inaccurate. It would be, if that's what they said. But what the Goths actually were is *Arians*, a different thing entirely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perhaps because the author of this book is well-versed in history and early Teutonic myth and religion, the "world" the characters inhabit seems extremely real and believeable. The treatment of the religion and philosophical views of the characters is particularly strong.
I enjoyed the main character, Hagan, and wished the story would go on longer so we could learn more about him. It would have been nice to see more of his home life, as well.
The book reminded me of some of Heinlein's earlier works where a self-reliant man virtuously sticks to duty & uses his common sense, ultimately succeeding in life.
It is far, far better than most sword & hero books out there lately.
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