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Gods of Fire and Thunder (Book of the Gods) Hardcover – August 3, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his fifth Books of the Gods entry, veteran Saberhagen (the Berserker, Dracula and Swords series) offers a naturalistic retelling of Germanic myth, steering his usual middle course between the grittily realistic and the fantastic. One survivor of God of the Golden Fleece (2001) wanders into the middle of a Wagnerian cast and plot, including Wodan, Brunhild, Baldur, assorted Valkyries, flying horses, gnomes and a battle between the gods and the Underworld on the plain of Asgard. Armed only with cunning and a shabby piece of the Golden Fleece, Haraldur ("most call me Hal, to save themselves a little breath and effort") manages to sneak into Valhalla, single-handedly defeat a berserker, steal a Valkyrie's steed, penetrate Loki's stronghold, discover the stolen treasure of the gnomes, witness (or cause) the deaths of three gods and fight side-by-side with Wodan in the Last Battle. Despite the operatic overtones of his material, the author grounds his tale in a very unromantic reality. The noble figures and ideals of the old stories, like Valhalla, look better from a distance. Up close, draughty halls and leaky roofs do not a warrior's paradise make. The separation of appearance and actuality gives the book a dollop of ironic humor and a chance for Saberhagen to introduce his own superscience clues about the powers of the gods. Fans will recognize his technique of blurring the relation of the setting of both myth and history to produce a hybrid that allows him much free rein of invention within the standard story lines.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Haraldur the Northman has recently returned from his adventures with Jason in search of the Golden Fleece and meets Baldur, a young man in search of the Valkyrie Brunhilde, held captive by the god Loki inside a ring of fire. When two men form a partnership of would-be heroes intent on rescuing the maiden and, incidentally, investigating rumors of a hoard of gold within the fiery ring, they plumb the secrets of the gods of Valhalla and the mysterious gnomes who inhabit the caverns beneath the earth. The author of the "Book of the Gods" (e.g., The Face of Apollo, Ariadne's Web) series turns his attention from Greek to Norse myth with a rousing tale of love and adventure, spiced with humor and likeable characters. A good selection for most fantasy collections and for libraries owning the rest of the series.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Book of the Gods (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (August 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765302012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765302014
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,964,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fred Saberhagen (1930-2007) is widely published in many areas of speculative fiction. He is best known for his Berserker, Swords, and Dracula series. Less known are the myth-based fantasies Books of the Gods. Fred also authored a number of non-series fantasy and science fiction novels and a great number of short stories. For more information on Fred, visit his website: www.fredsaberhagen.com.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 5 customer reviews
If not, you'll enjoy the actions, the suspense, the stories, plots.
David
Saberhagen's book has just the right amount of humor, the characters are likable, and the story moves along at a good pace.
Amazon Customer
The book was enjoyable and I look forward to another level of this series if one is every written.
Jeri K. Williams

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on August 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Following his journey as an Argonaut, Hal comes home to settle down in a mundane environment though he still wants wealth. His hope of boredom ends before he reaches his destination as he finds his path blocked by a strange looking fire. He plans to go around the magical induced flames, but first talks with a melancholy man called Baldur. The stranger tells Hal that he expected to attain Valhalla by dying in combat, but instead sits on the wrong side of the flame that contains his beloved Valkyrie Brunhild and a treasure. Unable to ignore the possibility of wealth, Hal joins Baldur on his quest to get to the other side.

When the gnomes begin their annual trek to Valhalla, Hal and Baldur follow. However when they reach the fabled city, the partners are shocked to find Valhalla in ruins. Woden seems mentally incompetent, and Thor and Loki are missing. Someone has to lead the Valhalla warriors in combat against the invading giants. Alas Hal and Baldur become embroiled though the former wants gold while the latter desires his Valkyrie.

The Fifth Book of the Gods, GODS OF FIRE AND THUNDER, is an action packed fantasy thriller. The story line follows the exploits of the key two characters driven in different ways. Though overall quite an exciting extension to mythology, the plot at times feels disjointed yet this engaging tale will please fans of the author and Norse mythology lovers with its creative force.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David on January 26, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My friend gave me this book for Christmas. At first, the book didn't look appealing but after reading the first page, I was hooked! If you like lord of the rings, you'll for sure love this book. If not, you'll enjoy the actions, the suspense, the stories, plots. The stories unfolds in such an exciting way. Every page will make you wanna read more. 320 pages....yeah right...it seemed to me like I read only like 100....i want more! This book is great! I loved it a lot. You shoudl read it too, I'll bet you enjoy it too! Email me back on what you think! lilaznboy4ever@yahoo.com
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The story is placed in the (future/past?)in a rather backward society. Various super high tech masks were created in the deep past that give the wearer superpowers modeled after various "gods" of earth's past.

"Valhalla" (Nordic heaven) is not all it seems to be up close. Is something amiss? Norse myth is the backdrop of of a story of adventure and danger. Saberhagen's book has just the right amount of humor, the characters are likable, and the story moves along at a good pace.

It is a very good read.
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By Jeri K. Williams on December 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book was enjoyable and I look forward to another level of this series if one is every written.
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By twistedgranny on October 4, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
arrived fast, was as advertised.
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