My rating: 3 of 5 stars
One of the better efforts from Andy McDermott, the archaeologist and bodyguard wife & husband pair of Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase are back in their newest effort on the trail of the legendary Valhalla. The 'eitr' from the pits of the snake Migard has the potential to wipe out the entire planet with its toxicity. In an interesting twist on things, the Soviets are the good guys this time around ready to stop anybody from weaponizing the eitr going as far as to even launch a nuke at the location once found.
The book moves back and forth in time, with Eddie Chase's past actions catching up with him. For the first time Eddie seems to know more than Nina about the Viking legend of Valhalla and the has experienced the horrors of the eitr firsthand in the countryside of Vietnam while on a mission to rescue a group of foreign aid workers. Eddie tries to sabotage the discovery of the second eitr pit and this puts him on crossroads with Nina who is trying to find the pit before the Americans can find it. Also details about Eddie from the Vietnam mission causes Nina to see her husband in a new light, not liking what she finds out about him.
The pace of the book is decent, again it is not a roller coaster, but some of the stunts pulled by Eddie seem outrageous and impossible. Well the ending is predictable in the sense that Nina & Eddie manage to thwart the Armageddon, but the twist in the tale comes when it is found that Nina has been splashed with the eitr just before it was completely destroyed leading to health complications as there is no cure available for the eitr.
With this end McDermott has set the stage up well for the next book in the series which will take Chase & Wilde on another crisscrossing journey of cryptic clues, legendary quests and riddles with the objective of curing Nina also playing a significant part in it.
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