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Norse Code Mass Market Paperback – May 19, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Short story author van Eekhout makes a successful leap to long fiction with this thrilling urban fantasy. As human civilizations crumble, Valkyries prepare for Ragnarok by using DNA testing to select perfect warriors for their army of the dead. Resurrected NorseCODE operative Mist loses faith in the project after a tragic accident, and she goes AWOL. After Mist encounters the near-forgotten god Hermod as he investigates portents of doom along the California coastline, the two journey into the afterlife of Helheim, where they make some unexpected allies. With deities scheming and ancient prophecies coming true, can a reluctant Valkyrie and a world-weary god prevent the apocalypse? While a few aspects of the conclusion don't quite hang together, the compelling prose and epic blend of mythological and modern elements make it clear that van Eekhout is an author to watch. (June)
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Norse Code is a clever, witty reimagining of one of our enduring myths in a world of Southern California baristas and shopping malls: Ragnarok at Malibu, with wandering gods, thoughtful monsters, high tech Valkyries and world-spanning catastrophes. Van Eekhout demonstrates his well-deserved reputation as a masterful short fiction stylist on a much larger canvas—one that stretches from the frozen basements of hell to the depths of black infinity, without ever losing his focus on the human and the humane. A satisfying read that taps the vein of our oldest legends in the most modern way possible.”—Jay Lake, author of Escapement

“Greg van Eekhout combines the thrills of gods and monsters with the chills of endless winter in this inventive and mythic modern fantasy. Neil Gaiman fans take note!”—Tim Pratt, author of The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl

“Van Eekhout plays with Norse mythology like he invented it. This is a really fun read, with plenty of cool bits to chew over after putting it down. I like this book a lot.” — Steven Brust, author of Jhegaala

"Norse Code has bone crunching battles, ironic ravens, a resistance movement of dead Iowans, a great loner hero redeemed by the love of a spunky valkyrie in California during the apocalypse, and lots of wit. If that doesn't sound like fun to you, all I can say is, well, I'm sorry. Cause it is."—Maureen McHugh, author of China Mountain Zhang

"A renegade valkyrie and a runaway god team up to stop the apocalypse in a book filled with battles and betrayals, love and hope.  If the world ends tomorrow, you can't do anything better than read Greg van Eekhout's Norse Code.  But don't blame me if you end up joining the resistance.  I love this book."–C. C. Finlay, author of The Patriot Witch

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; No Edition Stated edition (May 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553592130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553592139
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #860,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greg van Eekhout writes novels for adults and young readers, typically characterized by mayhem, banter, weirdness, and action. His first novel, Norse Code, was a finalist for the Locus Award for Best First Novel. His middle-grade novel, The Boy at the End of the World, was a nominee for the Andre Norton Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy award.
He lives in Southern California, where two seismic plates crash into each other and give rise to disaster and mayhem.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. Nolan VINE VOICE on June 25, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
_Norse Code_ is a little gem of a book. When so many fantasy books today are small installments in series that may run into the dozens (assuming they actually do ever reach a conclusion!), _Norse Code_ harks back to the days of "done in one". While it's not the slim 190 pages of some classic genre books, at 292 pages definitely not yet another "doorstop" fantasy where you could cut 100 pages and do nothing but improve things.

The story itself is a setting of the Norse "Twilight of the Gods" in the modern world, and successfully treads a very fine line between treating its characters as figures of myth with all the irrationalities of myth and grounded modern men and women who think as we do.

The main characters are Hermod, an Aesir (he is careful not to actually claim to be a 'god') brother to Balder and Thor who after failing to bring Balder back from the land of the dead has been in self imposed exile on Midguard (our world) for thousands of years, and Mist a modern California Valkyrie who is recruting warriors for the final, hopeless battle of Ragnorok. Hermod is a well realized, wry character who though he considers himself to have failed at everything grand he has ever tried, and tries grand things with no enthusiasm still nonetheless never shirks from the tasks he feels set before him. Mist is a bit less well realized but still engaging.

Although I suppose a sequel is possible (for instance, who killed Mist in the first place?), things are generally wrapped up well enough by the books end that none is necessary or expected.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Shala Kerrigan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 12, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't know what I expecting from the cover. I think I was vaguely expecting another thinly disguised magic warrior woman romance sort of thing which really wasn't what I was in the mood for, but I decided to read it anyway.
I'm glad I did. It's complicated with a lot of characters and jumping between different scenes taking place with the characters, but it's worth it.
It's sometime in the near future. The world is in winter and pretty bleak, civilization as we know it is crumbling, but it's not really mankind's fault. It's Ragnarök. Despite everything humans have done with their free will and inventive spirit, at the end, it comes down to prophecy laid down eons ago, it's up to a lesser known god, a renegade Valkyrie, a warrior, a ghost, and the god blamed for the start of the fall to change it, to save the world from destiny.
It's well written and a great re-imagining of mythology. I enjoyed it completely. It's not fluffy and light like the cover suggests. It's a good story.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Alexia VINE VOICE on June 12, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The NorseCODE genome project was designed to identify descendants of Odin. What it found was Kathy Castillo, a murdered MBA student brought back from the dead to serve as a Valkyrie in the Norse god's army. Given a sword and a new name, Mist's job is to recruit soldiers for the war between the gods at the end of the world - and to kill those who refuse to fight. But as the twilight of the gods descends, Mist makes other plans.

This book was amazing! I gave it 5 stars for sheer originality as well as for having great characters and a good plotline. I mean, honestly, how many books have you ever come across featuring the Norse gods and Ragnarok? I vaguely remember Odin and Loki, but the other gods and mythology were new to me. Greg did a great job of providing short backgrounds when necessary, and made it easy to keep track of everyone.

Mist is a new Valkyrie who is not really comfortable with her job of finding new recruits for the final battle between the gods. On her very first job, when her first recruit is deemed unworthy and is set on the road to Helheim (the land of the dead), Mist decides to embark on a rescue mission. She will not only rescue her recruit, but also her murdered sister Lilly. To do this, she needs the help of the only one to ever go to Helheim and back, the Norse god Hermod.

Hermod has problems of his own and would rather just be left alone, but somehow winds up accompanying Mist on her rescue mission. Along with her bodyguard Grimnir and Hermod's loyal dog Winston, they set off on the adventure to end all adventures. And hey, while they're at it, why not prevent the end of the world as well?
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By The Mad Hatter VINE VOICE on June 8, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wasn't very familiar with Eekhout before, but I have since checked out a couple of his short stories which were surprisingly strong. I'm glad he decided to tackle something long form as Norse Code is his debut effort. He most certainly has a bright future in front of him. Norse Code was one of those titles that as soon as I heard it I knew it would be for me.

Norse Code can almost act as an entertaining primer to Norse Gods and their associated lore. Eekhout manages to deftly include nearly every aspect of Norse mythology in some fashion. Even tiny aspects are discussed in depth while they are barely mentioned in the legends. The book centers on Hermod Odinson, the wandering god, who is often considered a minor player in the mythology but in this he grows into a star. The book quickly switches gears from what I thought was going to be more of a typical Urban Fantasy placed mostly on our world but turned into a tour of all the Nine worlds of Norse mythology traveling to the very roots of the World Tree. This is most assuredly the coming of Ragnarok.

Norse Code is action-packed and fun, but I did have a few problems with it. Overall, it was almost too quickly paced and many of the problems the characters encounter are solved too easily. Some more fleshing out of the coming of Ragnarok would have been good especially in the worsening of the human realm just to connect the reader a bit more. I felt that the book did lose something by not following up more on the NorseCode company which is only mentioned at the beginning and little elsewhere. It almost seemed like this should have been book 2 in a series. The main female character Mist could have used a bit more emotion, but I guess being a Valkyrie it is understandable why she isn't.
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