12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Stirring Retelling of the Siegfried Myth,
This review is from: Rhinegold (Mass Market Paperback)
Stephan Grundy took on a massive task when he decided to turn the great Northern epic into a novel. It must have taken a good deal of courage to begin the writing, as it would be so easy to trivialise what is an important part of heritage to many people. What came out of his work is nearly 900 pages of epic storytelling.
When I first bought the book, I remember thinking, "I hope this is good, because it's a long read if it's rubbish !" Suffice to say I read it in less than three weeks and found the experience not only interesting, but in places inspirational as well. We have to remember that this book is telling the tale of one of the greatest Germanic / Norse myths. How easy it would have been to just turn it into another fantasy novel. The author didn't fall into this trap however, and has succeeded in blending supreme story telling with a writing style that actually retains the mythic element of the tale. For me it was not just a good read, but an experience which I won't forget in a hurry. Wagner told this story in his Ring cycle, but this is not very accessible for the man in the street who neither likes opera or speaks German. In this regard, "Rhinegold" is very much THE book to access one of the greatest stories of European culture, and I was surprised to find out just how much of it is based on actual events and people in history. (The author provides a brief historical note at the end). Of necessity in retaining the mythical element of the writing, many ancient words are used, however the author has provided a comprehensive glossary at the back of the book for those who might need it, although it is surprising how many of these words continue in use today either in the same spelling or something similar.
For any European interested in our shared heritage, and remember that the English and the Scots are the offspring of Germanic and Norse peoples through the Angles, Saxons, Normans and Vikings, all Germanic tribes, this book is a must. It is, quite simply, the best available and a revelation. These people were not savage barbarians, they were people with a distinct culture based on honour and fair dealing .... and they were our forefathers.
Read this book !
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Initial post: 27 Feb 2014 15:27:39 GMT
Good review. I have, however, a small quibble re your statement "remember that the English and the Scots are the offspring of Germanic and Norse peoples through the Angles, Saxons, Normans and Vikings, all Germanic tribes"
Actually not! Professor Bryan Sykes' analysis shows that the DNA of people from all parts of the British Isles has only a minor Germanic component! The major component being derived from the people variously described as Picts, Celts or Britons. I recommend his Blood of the Isles for a fascinating read.
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