A saga based on Norse mythology follows two warrior clans whose fates are interwoven throughout seven generations by a mighty god and centers on a land of howling snows, golden summertime loves, trollcraft, blood oaths, and proud ships. Reprint. PW.
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The powerful legends upon which Wagner build his ``Ring'' cycle are the foundation of this historical fantasy in three books by Grundy--a first novel of epic proportions. The story is essentially the saga of Sigifrith (Siegfried; Grundy's renderings of the characters' names may briefly disorient readers who know them in the Norse variants used by Wagner), the quintessential hero of the Germanic tribes. The first book presents Sigifrith's background in the form of a vision, telling him of his heroic ancestry and of the cursed treasure guarded by the dragon Fadhmir. The second book tells of his coming to age, gaining a steed and a sword worthy of a hero, and of his deeds--revenging his father's death, slaying the dragon, and taking possession of the treasure. In the third installment, his tragic destiny faces him with an impossible choice between two women: Gundrun, a powerful king's daughter, his betrothed; and Brunichild, who believes herself to be his destined soulmate. Grundy sets his epic in the historical fifth century, portraying the customs of the early German tribes in great detail. The author sometimes lets his interest in the anthropological background distract him from storytelling, but the momentum of the plot is usually strong enough to carry the reader past these slow spots. Meanwhile, the prose rarely rises to epic heights, but, on the other hand, it rarely falls flat; at his best, as in those scenes where supernatural forces intrude upon the human stage, Grundy effectively evokes the sheer alienness of the culture he describes. A workmanlike retelling of one of the great tales, full of imaginative sidelights on the people who created it. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Grundy's epic first novel, which takes its name from Wagner but the bulk of its plot from the Norse Volsunga Saga , does a skillful job of handling the youth of Sigifrith, his revenge for his father Sigimund's death and his battle with the dragon Fadhmir. Even better is the grisly, intriguing portrayal of Sigimund, his twin Sigilind and their child Sinfjotli, all caught in one of those horrid Norse nets of revenge and counter-revenge. Unfortunately, once Sigifrith has gained his fame and ventures among the Burgundians (Gundahari, Gundrun and Hagan), the pace slows. It's not entirely the author's fault: the Volsunga Saga isn't concerned with the legal complexities that underlie and undermine Wotan's power, so Grundy doesn't have the frisson of a Gotterdammerung for an ending--just Huns slaughtering Burgundians and Burgundians returning the favor. Still, his more historical approach in the novel's last third clots the story with extraneous names and events that mute the legend's impact. In addition, Grundy's dialogue often seems inappropriate to his generally skaldic narrative. ("Muspell, shit. I heard there's a dwarf-sized smith on the Rhine who's forging 'em.") On balance, though, this is a good rousing read.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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