The ninth instalment of Nina Wilde’s and Eddie Chase’s adventures delivers once again as a fast paced adventure as this time as they hunt for the legendary Nordic Valhalla. We have been with these characters since 2008 and what a journey they have been on, six years on and they are finally looking towards a future for just the two of them.
The novel begins in New York with the two of them discussing the prospect of having a child together (a very long awaited child I hasten to add) which quickly spirals into a car chase in Switzerland to a trek to one of the Canadian islands in search of the deadly eitr.
With secret underground bases and snowmobile chases over frozen lakes the action is at its highest in the series so far with Eddie and Nina narrowing avoiding sure death and creating even more tension between hostile countries. Like the previous novels we have the return of characters and in this novel we have the Australian Matt. Matt is a welcome counter character to Nina’s workaholic attitude and Eddie’s loud nature. Tova is a nice addition with her down to Earth spirit and a person who, at the start, was yet to be affected by the ventures of Nina and Eddie.
For one of the first times we are given an insight into the days after Eddie left the SAS with intermittent flashbacks into one of his missions in Vietnam. With the breakdown of his marriage he thrusts himself back into work to escape from Sophia’s lawyers. While there with a small team they are tasked with extracting a group of charity workers who have been taken. From the point when the workers are found Eddie is thrown into 10 years of apparent turmoil over his actions. It was nice to see and “relive” one of Eddie’s past missions and see that over the years he has lost nothing in his character and was still the same gentlemen back then. Not one of huge plot twists I hate to admit that McDermott for a moment had me believing Eddie and his version of events. There is no let up in the narrative to suggest otherwise; it is only the readers disbelief in the events which stops them from giving it credit. Even Nina believes him which gives the reader a reassurance that what they are reading could be true.
I personally feel that Nina develops more in this book than in the previous ones. For a while she has just been the smart archaeologist looking for lost treasures whereas now we see her looking to the future and what she wants from life. With the thought of a child being the central issue throughout the novel the ending brings in a new darker level to the series. Up until this point the only people who have been affected by their actions are themselves but now their future is affected which is a far more troubling aspect when they have only just begun to think about it.
With the sneak peek into the next novel it gives the reader hope for the future of our favourite relic finding couple. I hope that when I get around to the next book there is a reprieve from or solution to the events in the Valhalla Prophecy.