Book Recommendation: Attila's Treasure
18. Januar 2009 - 23:08
The novel “Attila's Treasure” by Stephen Grundy is about young Hagan, fourteen winters of age. He's is the second son of Gebica (emphasising the first syllable, as in nearly all other names in this text), king of the Burgundians, one of the mightiest rulers in Central Europe. Gundahari, heir to the throne, is his beloved elder brother. Living at the end of migration period, he lives in a complicated time: In the east lives Attila, king of the Huns, with a huge warband of warriors of a variety of tribes. In the south, there still is the Eastern Roman Empire; in the west the rising kingdom of the Franks. All around them many small kingdoms. And there are three beliefs struggling for predominance: the old pagan religions, such as the Germanic or the Hunnic one; and, at the same time, two adversary kinds of Christianity: Arianism, the religion of the Goths and some other tribes, and Roman Catholicism. Hagan sticks to the old path of his people: he worships the dark god of war and death, the god of shamans and kings: Wodans. While most of the Burgundians are still pagan, many of the people of Roman or Celtic origin in their realm are Christian. Born in this difficult time, Hagan is educated to be the trustiest counselor to his brother one day. Suddenly, Attila asks Gebica to send him Hagan as a frith-bonder. That means, if the Burgundians attacked the Huns, Hagan would be killed at once. So Hagan travels to the hall of Attila.
At arrival, he is accepted as a foster son: he will be taught all he has to know as an atheling of his position. He comes to share a cottage with Waldhari (again, emphasising the first syllable). Waldhari is the son of the Frankish king, a frith-bonder just like Hagan. Although Hagan is a very strange person, who is unable to show emotions and thus always looks very grim, and even though they have an argument on religions when they meet the first time (for Waldhari is a Catholic), they make friends soon. Hagan learns, that every argument on religion is punished in Attila's host, religious mission is prohibited as well. Because of Hagan's appearance and his mother's reputation of having witch-crafts, the other frith-bonders exclude him and Waldhari. Of the youths, only Bleyda, Attila's son, who is impressed by Hagan's fighting skills, likes him. But when both Waldhari and Hagan are granted the honour to ride with the warband at the next battle, the other frith-bonders stop threatening them. At the same time the Gyula, the old shaman of the Huns, notices that Hagan has all the skills a shaman needs. Soon, he starts to teach Hagan the ways of the shamans of the steppes. Hagan gladly accepts. When a Roman city near to the border of Attila's lands refuses to pay tribute, the warband rides out. With them Hagan and Waldhari, riding to their first battle ...