Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Attila's Treasure
Stephan Grundy
Bantam Books, 550 pages

Attila's Treasure
Stephan Grundy
Stephan Grundy was born in New York City, but grew up in Dallas, Texas. He wrote his first published novel, Rhinegold, while doing his degree in German Area Studies and English at Southern Methodist University. He later attained a Ph.D. from Cambridge University for his thesis entitled, "The Cult of Odinn: God of Death?"  He currently lives in Emmel Castle, a restored 15th century castle in Southern Ireland, with his wife, Melodi Lammond, and three Norwegian Forest cats. His hobbies include brewing, classical singing, metalwork, woodcarving, and hunting.

ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Neil Walsh

As the author states, the events told in Attila's Treasure overlap with what occurs during chapters 3 to 7 in the second of three books in his previous novel, Rhinegold. Those chapters of that previous book recount some of the adventures of Sigifrith (or Siegfried, one of the most popular and well-known heroes of Teutonic legend). Attila's Treasure relates the events of Hagan (another hero, friend of Sigifrith and later his enemy) from the time that he is sent to be foster son (read "hostage") to Attila the Hun, to some time after he is called back to his home and family on the Rhine. Grundy places this early in the 5th century, and he has done a wonderful job of weaving history and legend, ironing out any discrepancies to suit his story.

However, I think I made a mistake by reading Attila's Treasure before I had read Rhinegold. Maybe it was only a mistake for me, but by the time I got to the end of Attila's Treasure there were enough unanswered questions in my mind that I decided I had better read Rhinegold. Now it may be that if I had been more perceptive, less particular, or more intimately familiar with the events told in the Volsung/Nibelung cycle, I would not have had these nagging questions and this novel would have stood more firmly on its own merit.

Nevertheless, it is with all due credit to the writing style and ability of Grundy that I considered it worthwhile to immediately pick up his first novel and devour it unflinchingly to the end, until all my questions were satisfactorily answered. And yes, I found my answers. So, if you've already read and enjoyed Rhinegold, don't miss out on Attila's Treasure. If you have not yet read Rhinegold, my advice would be to read it first before tackling Attila's Treasure.

Now, having said that, I believe Attila's Treasure is actually the better book. I remember reading one critic who accused Grundy of getting too caught up in the anthropological details in Rhinegold, making it more dense than it might otherwise have been. I can't say I disagree with that, but on the other hand it didn't bother me. Attila's Treasure probably goes into even more historical anthropological detail, but its story is only a fragment of the multi-generational tragedy that unfolds in Rhinegold. This makes Attila's Treasure a tighter work, and in my opinion a better read -- once you have the background necessary to avoid those nagging questions.

Copyright © 1998 by Neil Walsh

Neil Walsh is the Reviews Editor for the SF Site. He lives in contentment, surrounded by books, in Ottawa, Canada.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide