The author of The Knights of the Golden Table (p. 898, J- 285, 1964) and other books based on medieval history here turns to the German epic, the Niebelungenlied and a faithful retelling of the story best known in its Scandinavian based version through Wagner's operatic Ring cycle. It is a dark, stark story of treachery and passion that overwhelms and transforms the most innocent and good. Set in the framework of human motivation rather than mythology, it is told with a directness that conveys this sense but is not so effective in evoking epic grandeur. Brunhild, won by the magic of Siegfried's sword, comes from Iceland to Burgundy as King Gunter's bride. She is envious of Siegfried's heroism and his treasure, and with the connivance of Gunther's chief councillor, secures his death. Kremhild, the beautiful Burgundian princess, sister of Gunther, who becomes Siegfried's Wife and queen, changes from her loving and lovely self to an instrument of revenge and wreaks havoc and horror that brings her own death. Reader sympathy, strong at the start, must give way to the darkening of Kremhild's character. A sound Job.