A wonderful retelling of the Nibelung and Volsung sagas
From Publishers Weekly
This sometimes grim but always gripping retelling of the tragedy of Sigfrid and Brunahild, a sequel to The Wolf and the Raven, depicts the doomed lovers, and their royal spouses, in warm and sympathetic terms, with maybe a touch too modern a sensibility. Sigfrid, having vowed to return to Brunahild, whom he knows as Sigdrifa, comes to the land of the Burgunds on the banks of the Rhine, where he is welcomed by the king, Gundohar. The queen mother, Grimahild, a wisewoman of the old beliefs, gives Sigfrid a potion to destroy his love for Brunahild and direct it instead to her daughter Gudrun. After a nomadic and hunted childhood, Sigfrid is overjoyed to become part of a family. He agrees to help Gundohar win Brunahild, who keeps suitors at bay while awaiting Sigfrid by declaring she will wed only the man who can defeat her. A disguised Sigfrid wins the bride for Gundohar, although he is then horror-struck to discover her true identity. Brunahild's feelings of betrayal, Sigfrid's sense of honor and the king and his brother Hagano's growing jealousy begin the spiral to destruction. Paxson vividly brings to life the northern Europe of the early fifth century, poised between the new Christian religion and the ancient gods, between the nomadic roaming of tribal life and the more comfortable settlements established by the still-viable Roman Empire.
Blurb from the cover:
A noble traveler arrives at the court of the Burgund, the Dragons of the Rhine. He is Sigfrid Sigmundson, warrior and shapeshifter, already fabled throughout the land for having slain Fafnar, the terrible battle-wurm. Welcomed into the royal circle, Sigfrid is proclaimed blood-brother by Gundohar, the young Burgund liege. But an insidious magic of an aging witch chains Sigfrid to this place--binding him with desire for the enchanting princess Gudrun . . . causing him to betray a heartsworn promise and a devoted live.
For in the realm of the Hun, the beautiful and loyal Brunahild patiently awaits the return of her champion--having already borne the girlchild Sigfrid has unknowingly sired. It is base treachery, however, that reunites the Raven with her Wolf--as her expected hero reappears but in disguise, to best Brunahild in combat and win her for the Burgund king.
The story of Siegfreid, Brunhild, and Gudrun. Second in a series of three called Wodan's Children. The first is The Wolf and the Raven and the third is Lord of Horses.