The Story behind ‘The Last Wife of Attila the Hun,’ by Joan Schweighardt
“An Embarrassment of Riches”
The Last Wife of Attila the Hun is based on both legend and history. The legends I studied came from a book called the Poetic Edda. While the Poetic Edda was written in Iceland in the thirteenth century, the “eddas” or poems it includes existed orally for centuries before they were recorded. Moreover, they came from other places, carried to Iceland by people who settled there.
Whenever we consider a legend about ancient times, we have to wonder if there is any truth in it. No one believed that Homer’s Illiad referred to any real historical events until an archeologist by the name of Heinrich Schliemann excavated a site he believed to have been the location of Homer’s “fictional” Troy, in what is now Turkey. Not only did scholars come to agree that he had in fact discovered Troy, but various objects found at the site seemed to confirm that many elements of Homer’s story were based on true events.
When I saw that some of the poems from the Poetic Edda made earnest (albeit ambiguous) attempts to bring the historical Attila the Hun into their narratives, I began to believe that there might be some truth to the legends themselves. The only way to find out was to begin studying the history of Attila to see where there might be overlaps with the legends. And there were overlaps, lots of them. And by filling in the gaps in between, I was able to excavate elements of what may be, in part at least, a true story.
Title: The Last Wife of Attila the Hun
Genre: Literary/Historical Fiction with a Legendary Component
Two threads are woven together in The Last Wife of Attila the Hun. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword; the second reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to this mission. Based in part on the true history of the times and in part on the same Nordic legends that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle and other great works of art, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun offers readers a thrilling story of love, betrayal, passion and revenge, all set against an ancient backdrop itself gushing with intrigue. Lovers of history and fantasy alike will find realism and legend at work in this tale.
About the Author:
Joan Schweighardt is the author of several novels. In addition to her own projects, she writes, ghostwrites and edits for private and corporate clients.