The Last Wife of Attila the Hun

Written by Joan Schweighardt
Review by Joanna Urquhart

Two threads are flawlessly woven together in this sweeping historical novel. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword; the second reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to this mission.”

Gudrun, scarred by tragedy and coldly bent on revenge, is the driving force behind Joan Schweighardt’s densely-plotted and spellbinding novel The Last Wife of Attila the Hun, which is freely adapted from Attila story-lines found in the Poetic Edda, and mixes history with mytho-history in some very creative and gripping ways.

Perhaps the cover could have been more imaginatively designed? A straightforward map does not particularly  inspire, intrigue, or convey the sense of the passion which behind the story – something more evocative would have been preferable.

The story of Gudrun’s intent to destroy the tyranny of Attila is expertly counterbalanced with the narrative of her own life, and her love for a man called Sigurd. The entire tale is related in a lean and powerful prose style that consistently finds the perfect mix of quasi-fantasy and gritty history.