by Robert J. Mrazek
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Signet Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451468727
Date: 07 October 2014 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Valhalla is the beginning of a great new series featuring retired Air Force General Steven Macaulay. Robert Mrazek takes us on a great search for Nordic Gods starting under the ice in Greenland and continuing on a chase around the United States and Europe.
Valhalla opens at an expedition under the ice in Greenland to find a lost World War II aircraft. Well, the group finds the aircraft and renders full military honors to the crew, but the sonar shows something else much deeper under the ice. Eccentric millionaire John Lee Hancock, the expedition leader and personal friend of the US President, explores further and discovers an ancient Viking ship complete with the crew. There are also some markings in ancient script that need to be deciphered. Knowing it is a great archaeological find, Hancock and his second-in-command Steven Macaulay call in a team of Norse archaeologists to inspect the find.
One of the team of archaeologists needs to be medevaced and Macaulay, a retired Air Force General, flies the team's helo to safety with the injured archaeologist. While Macaulay is gone, a terrorist group flies in, destroys the camp and steals the artifacts from under the ice. Macaulay's helo is also attacked but he survives. One of the four archaeologists, Lexi Vaughan, also hides from the terrorists and, without realizing it, she and Macaulay head off for a great adventure that comprises the rest of the story. Because of Hancock's connections, the event receives high-level attention at the White House which adds more to the action of the story.
It turns out the terrorists are working for a secret society that worships the ancient Norse Gods. They have funding from an individual who has a very interesting back-story himself. I will save his character as a surprise for the reader. It turns out that this secret society has followers everywhere, including very high in the US and European governments. The society believes the archaeological find in Greenland will lead to the discovery of the burial site of Leif Eriksen and they want to use his DNA for one of their secret projects. I do not want to reveal too much and spoil the surprises. Valhalla has lots of them.
Robert Mrazek writes suspense very well and I was on the edge of my seat throughout most of the novel. Valhalla is great for both mystery and suspense as the portions of the secret society are revealed, and for all the chases Macaulay and Lexi endure while escaping and trying to read the ancient script. I love Mrazek's characters. One of the characters that helps McCauley is an old CIA analyst that the CIA has "put out to pasture". He is a great character. Another great character is Lexi's university mentor who helps her decipher the script. Some of the Norse followers are real people in our world, not just fictional characters.
McCauley is a great character and the mystery and suspense are superb. I am very happy that I found Valhalla and Robert Mrazek.