Review

Valhalla Rising

by Clive Cussler

Read an Excerpt



"They moved through the morning mist like ghosts, silent and eerie
in phantom ships. Tall, serpentine prows arched gracefully on bow
and stern, crowned with intricately carved dragons, teeth bared
menacingly in a growl as if their eyes were piercing the vapor in
search of victims."

The images of majestic Viking ships drifting down the uncharted
waterways of the North American continent form the historic
backdrop for yet another wild adventure featuring Dirk Pitt, Al
Giordino, and the phenomenal team of Cussler's fictional NUMA. With
his usual mastery of plotting, Cussler gives readers an intricate
story of ancient mysteries and present day terrorists that brazenly
pushes the fictional limits even as it grasps you by the hand and
yanks you firmly into the suspense. The action is nonstop and the
finale brings the legendary Norsemen, the modern day adversaries
and a touch of Jules Verne fantasy together into one remarkable
framework of interlocking pieces.

Good versus evil is always at the heart of Dirk Pitt's troubles and
VALHALLA RISING has enough evil to fill three volumes. The action
begins when a luxury cruise ship is destroyed costing the lives of
hundreds and Pitt uncovers evidence that foul play may have been
responsible. The motive for the terrorist act is a revolutionary
new oil invented by an eccentric scientist who became the target of
a sadistic group of killers, known as Viper, intent on stealing the
formula at any cost. As the investigation into the catastrophe
progresses, it becomes apparent that these men are merely the
mercenary army of the international corporation Cerberus, headed by
a sociopath who is obsessed with manipulating world oil markets and
gaining unlimited wealth and power. As the deadly hunt continues to
find the secret formula, Pitt and the NUMA team place themselves
squarely in the path of the assassins as they try to gather
evidence against the corporate conglomerate and prevent further
loss of life.

As in any Dirk Pitt story, this larger-than-life hero faces his
formidable adversary with Al Giordino at his side and a beautiful
woman hanging on his arm. However, Cussler now ushers in a new
phase in Pitt's life, as we see an aging hero pondering the face in
the mirror and the emotional scars of a long ago love affair that
ended tragically. While his current relationship with the lovely
Congresswoman Loren Smith has endured through several novels, they
have avoided commitment. Their disparate careers have always
presented what seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle. While still
retaining his charming veneer and lady-killer image, it's apparent
that Pitt is approaching an inevitable crossroad and is uncertain
which direction to take.

Cussler's unparalleled talent for mixing history and legend with
contemporary heroes and villains are why his novels are
consistently found on the bestseller lists. And in no small way
each novel is an education --- tales spun from the intriguing
mysteries of the ocean depths and the discoveries made through his
real life NUMA expeditions. In VALHALLA RISING Cussler brings
readers a complex drama that delves into early Viking explorations
and inspires a thirst to know more. He examines 19th century
literature, drawing parallels between Jules Verne's genius for
science fiction and modern day technology. He flirts with the
theory that Captain Nemo and the Nautilus may have had
origins other than Verne's fertile imagination and leaves the
reader wondering the same. Dirk and company may ultimately reach a
satisfying conclusion to their perilous adventure, but readers are
left with a mind full of tantalizing questions just begging to be
researched.

Reviewed by Ann Bruns (BkPageWC@aol.com) on January 24, 2011

Valhalla Rising
by Clive Cussler

  • Publication Date: July 30, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • ISBN-10: 0425185710
  • ISBN-13: 9780425185711