Joan Schweighardt, "The Last Wife of Attila the Hun" (Booktrope Editions, 2015)


Long before Genghis Khan set off to conquer the known world, the pattern of steppe warriors attacking--and often defeating--settled empires was well established. Only a few names of those who led these effective but mostly short-lived campaigns have become cultural references familiar to a general audience, but Attila the Hun looms large in that group--almost as large as Genghis himself. In the fifth century, the period covered by The Last Wife of Attila the Hun (Booktrope Editions, 2015), Attila kept both the eastern and the western Roman empires on their figurative toes, despite their vastly greater military and economic resources.

Into this charged atmosphere comes Gudrun, a young Burgundian noblewoman determined to exact vengeance for the destruction of her people at Attila's hands. She offers him a golden sword of magical power that, according to legend, inflicts a curse on its owner. She hopes Attila will become its next victim. But as the days turn into weeks and Gudrun becomes first a prisoner, then a servant, in the Huns' camp, she fears that even the sword's magic may not be strong enough to defeat Attila. Then he decides to marry her ...

Joan Schweighardt effortlessly interweaves the history surrounding the turbulent end of the western Roman Empire with the legends that sparked Wagner's Ring Cycle. The result is a rich and complex tapestry that will draw readers into a long-forgotten world.

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C. P. Lesley

C. P. Lesley is the author of two historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible and four other novels. Her latest book, The Merchant's Tale, co-written with P.K. Adams, appeared in November 2023.

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