The latest cinematic thrill ride from Andy McDermott delivers a globe-trotting, flashback-filled adventure that finds International Heritage Agency boss Nina Wilde and her ex-military Brit husband Eddie Chase tackling a legendary doomsday of Viking proportions. Filled with Norse mythology, The Valhalla Prophecy pits the couple against shadowy government operatives, some aimed at gaining a powerful, centuries old contagion and others who would do anything, sacrifice anyone, to stop them.
While McDermott charts out the historic and the scientific in a way that’s both thorough and educational, his writing seems to accelerate to breakneck speeds when the story hits an action scene. Read in a day, Valhalla Prophecy is entertaining, but it’s stop-doomsday-no-matter-what with historical allusions is been there, done that. But… the flashbacks to Chase’s past, and the tension that the old stories cause, create a decidedly intriguing insight to what it looks like for fleshed-out characters to be willing to sacrifice everything to save the world, with their spouse at their side.
Fans of James Rollins, Robert Ludlum, and Steve Berry will dig the historical bent that McDermott takes; the flow of the story, and its several icy locations, had me thinking Cliffhanger with Jason Statham swapped out for Sly Stallone, or a mashup of a Jason Bourne movie with Indiana Jones (or National Treasure). Seriously, this could be coming soon to a theater near you, with the kind of script meant for the screen, plastering interpersonal relationships on the page, juxtaposed over snow speeder chases, gunfights, and a car chase through a tight, European city.
Ultimately, it’s because we come to care about McDermott’s protagonists that we turn page after page; sure, the explosive storyline is great, but his depiction of men and women, how they think, how they communicate, and how they grow, is worth the read. I’m a fan now, and I’ll need to go back and read through the earlier chapters of the series. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.