May 20, 2013 by Tiffany A. Robbins
As a young, quite impressionable teenager, I read Attila’s Treasure by Stephan Grundy. I was in my bad-ass phase and thought that anything with barbarians in it must be cool. I’d picked it at random from the shelves of Walden Books and plopped it down at the cash register next to my sister’s newest Star Wars book and Mom’s newest Harlequin. I think it turned out to be one of the stories that lead me to wanting to write stories. It was one of those stories that captured me and made me want to make magic with the deceptively simple tools called a pen and paper.
Anyway, I always wondered what happened to the character Hagan, because Grundy left him somewhat miserable at the end of the story. It was a good and realistic ending, but I always felt really sad for him. Of course, this was when the internet was newish and it never occurred to me to go looking for other books the author published via Goodreads or Amazon.
So years later, while trying to input all the books I’ve ever read (impossible task) on Goodreads, Rhinegold pops up. Of course, the description says nothing about Hagan, but I figure I’ll give it a shot since I loved Attila’s Treasure so much.
Right from the beginning I was hooked even though I knew it would take me three months to read it. (Note of Stephan Grundy’s books: they take me awhile to read because they need to be savored and not rushed) I fell in love with the little wars going on with gods and men. I fell in love with the families that the reader follows through the generations even though I usually hate books that kill off main characters.
I found this book very effective at making the reader cheer for the grungy, forbidden things that would make me blush to admit out loud. The heroes and heroines are very likeable despite some serious flaws in their character. I’ve never found true hero types that I’ve loved like in this book.
The story line does wander and I often found myself wonder what the point was while reading, but for some reason, I kept reading and was satisfied through the full three months I sat engrossed in Rhinegold‘s pages.
Then, about half way through the book, guess who shows up…Hagan! For about two hundred pages, I’m sitting there wondering if it is the same character or not because it is taking place before the events in Attila’s Treasure, and I can’t quite wrap my head around it. But of course, the scope of Rhinegold is so huge that years go by and suddenly, the story is taking place after Attila’s Treasure, which I am now appreciating as a character spin-off.
Stephan Grundy does not disappoint and I must admit that I am much more satisfied with Hagan’s life after having read Rhinegold. I feel like a little bit of character mystery has been put to rest deep within my soul.
I couldn’t be more pleased. Of course, now I’m dying to go back and read Attila’s Treasure again, but I’m a really slow reader and there are so many things I want to read.
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