Friday, February 13, 2009

The Dakota Cipher-William Dietrich

The Dakota Cipher
William Dietrich
Harper, Mar 24 2009, $26.99
ISBN: 9780061568008

Ethan Gage is enjoying his stay in Paris as Napoleon has forgiven him for the Battle at Acre. His goal is to enjoy the Emperor’s married sister Pauline. However, after spending a delightful night with Pauline, thugs kidnap Ethan and tie him up to some fireworks. Thanks to melted chocolate in his sleeves and luck, he escapes and looks like a hero to the crowd as he appears to be holding the torch of liberty during the gala. With Pauline’s help, accompanied by Norwegian freedom fighter Magnus Bloodhammer, who seeks Thor’s Hammer to free his people from the Danes, he escapes to America.

The French who reclaimed the Louisiana Territory and President Jefferson want Gage to explore beyond the Great Lakes. A reluctant Ethan and Magnus begin the journey from DC to Detroit and from there across the Great Lakes towards the un-chartered Northwest in search of blue eyed light skin Indians, woolly mammoths and Thor's Hammer; allegedly brought by Knights Templar in the fourteenth century.

This fast-paced historical thriller engages readers from the moment that Ethan knows it is time to say au revoir and never slows down as he and the Odin look alike Magnus make the westward journey before Lewis and Clark. The story line is filled with action even when Ethan has them resting in New York waiting for the election of 1800 to be decided. The contrast between Magnus and Ethan is incredible as the former is dedicated to his quest and the memory of his beloved late wife while the latter is dedicated to the woman of the moment; in fact Gage’s womanizing gets him into one dangerous predicament after another whether it is in France or on the Great Lakes and beyond. Readers will relish his coming home escapades while newcomers will seek his previous adventures overseas (see NAPOLEON’S PYRAMID and THE ROSETTA KEY).

Harriet Klausner