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The Dragons of the Rhine (Wodan's Children, Book 2) Hardcover – January, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Drawing from a trove of historical sources, Paxson re-creates fifth-century lore in a sequel to The Wolf and the Raven. Part two of Paxson's projected trilogy continues the richly detailed saga of Sigfrid (the wolf child) and Brunahild (the raven-haired Walkyrja). At the outset, Brunahild has secretly borne Sigfrid's child, and once again the Burgunds and the Huns are jousting about. Fate interrupts the magical connection between the two lovers, with a series of events resulting in Sigfrid's marrying Gudrun and Brunahild's becoming King Gundohar's queen. Betrayal stirs the characters' emotions, as anger and vengeance form the crux of this exciting tale. A master of embellishment, Paxson combines equal parts history, mythology, and fantasy in a tale that should delight fans of all these genres. Alice Joyce

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Product Details

  • Series: Wodan's Children, Book 2 (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 371 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; First Edition edition (January 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688139868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688139865
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,860,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was brought up in southern California, but came north to attend Mills College and never left. I got my M.A. in (medieval) Comparative Literature from the University of California in 1966, the same year I put on the first tournament of what was to become the Society for Creative Anachronism. Since 1971 I've lived at Greyhaven, a hundred-year old house in Berkeley, with successive generations of family, friends, cats and dogs.

It's a literary family, including my husband, Jon DeCles, and the late Marion Zimmer Bradley, who was my mentor as a writer as well as colleague in founding Darkmoon Circle. My first published novel was Mistress of the Jewels, which began the chronicles of Westria. After I had written several historical fantasies, Marion, whose health deteriorated after she wrote Mists of Avalon, asked me to help her with The Forest House, which is how I ended up writing the Avalon series.

Much of the spiritual experience in my novels comes out of my work in the pagan community. I have now begun to publish that material in a series of non-fiction books, the most recent being Trance-Portation. My most recent novel is Sword of Avalon, set at the end of the Bronze Age, which gave me an opportunity to explore the end of the Homeric Age and the techniques of bronze- and iron-forging.

For more about my work, see:


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rachel E. Watkins on May 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
In Dragons of the Rhine the second portion of the ancient tale is told with intense emotion and detail. While the story is slightly different in how certain things are carried out than in the eddic writings, it's still an excellent novel which brings the story alive in a way which can be enjoyed by all in this century.
Diana Paxon truly delves deep into each of the charachters and thier reasoning and emotions so that each side of this tragedy is understood even while the playing out is heartbreaking. In this book, as in the last, I still found myself thinking there could be another way out, a hope still left although I've read this story in many forms many times before. The tension of each moment is fully played out so one could see possible alternatives, though fate must lead the charachters on to what the Norns have woven for them.
A version of the story I'd reccomend, along with the more ancient tellings of this story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
By the end of the first book, The Wolf and The Raven, Brunahild and Sigfrid have made plans for a glorious future together. Sadly, that future never comes to pass. Instead they are treacherously separated and end up married to other people. This is basically what happens in the original saga, but this is a difficult book to read because the characters go through such horrendous psychological trauma. The Burgundians want to bind Sigfrid to their clan. Queen Mother Grimahild and her son Hagano administer a magic potion to Sigfrid which causes him to fall madly in love with Gudrun, Grimahild's daughter. After they are married, Sigfrid then helps his new brother-in-law Gundohar win Brunahild for his wife. (Gundohar has been hopelessly in love with Brunahild for ages.) They play a dirty trick on her and Brunahild is oathbound to marry Gundohar. Eventually she realizes that she has been tricked and she bides her time and plots her revenge. Admittedly, this book made me cry, and very few books have had that effect on me. The story is really quite heart-wrenching. But, somehow, because Sigfrid and Brunahild are never able to live that glorious life they had in mind, the whole book has sort of an anti-climactic feel to it. There's certainly a lot of things happening, but it doesn't really live up to the promise of the previous novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bev Abbey on March 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am trying to acquire the entire series. I have other Diana Paxson books, and really enjoy her Northern European series. Most Americans seem to forget that we are of Anglo Saxon - not Greek or Roman - but since winners write history, we must look hard to find our myths.
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