William Dietrich is the author of fourteen novels, including six previous Ethan Gage titles--Napoleon's Pyramids, The Rosetta Key, The Dakota Cipher, The Barbary Pirates, The Emerald Storm, and The Barbed Crown. Dietrich is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, historian, and naturalist. A winner of the PNBA Award for Nonfiction, he lives in Washington State.
Fast, fun and full of surprises, Dietrich's rollicking third Ethan Gage escapade (after The Rosetta Key) takes the expatriate American diplomat and soldier-of-fortune home to investigate the Louisiana territory, preceding Lewis and Clark, for Napoleon, who claims it was secretly sold back to France. Accompanying Ethan is Magnus Bloodhammer, a Norwegian berserker who hopes to find Thor's Hammer, a magic talisman of his people supposedly brought to America by Knights Templar hundreds of years before Columbus sailed. With the blessing of President Thomas Jefferson (who asks him to keep an eye out for woolly mammoths), Ethan and Magnus light out for the northwest, where their steps are dogged by vindictive British loyalists, hostile Indians and unlikely disciples of an Egyptian snake cult. The tale twists and turns like a spitted serpent, but Dietrich shows his sure hand as a storyteller, leavening a tale rich in intrigue and impressive historic detail with abundant wit and humor. (Apr.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Ethan Gage (already seen in The Rosetta Key and Napoleon's Pyramids) is a totally likable if somewhat lethal rogue in the grand tradition of high adventure. Gage will lie, cheat, seduce, and swindle, yet somehow he always winds up on the winning and right side. Accompanied by a somewhat mad Norwegian named Magus Bloodhammer, he escapes France after bedding a willing sister of Napoleon. Armed with an ancient map, Bloodhammer is on a quest to prove that a Viking utopia once existed in North America, and Thomas Jefferson eagerly lets Gage and Bloodhammer travel west to see what's there and what the British might be plotting. As always, Dietrich's dialog is crisp and the characters believable, even if the plot is an excitement-filled stretch including evil Brits and nubile Indian maidens. The descriptions of Gage's journey are breathtaking, as Dietrich richly illustrates the people and settlements of the Northwest and Great Plains. This fun blend of history and adventure makes for a terrific, fast-paced read as Gage once again winds up inadvertently impacting history. For all popular fiction collections.-Robert Conroy, Warren, MI Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.