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Book Review: The Dakota Cypher by William Dietrich

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The Dakota Cypher is the next of the Ethan Gage series and it continues his sordid adventures around the world. For those not in the know, Ethan Gage is a revolutionary anti-hero of sorts; always getting himself into trouble over his affection for the ladies and ending up in dangerous adventures as a result.

He manages to escape death by the skin of his teeth innumerable times in a James Bond manner, but without the gadgets. However he is, in fact, not a hero at all and a bit of wimp, just someone who has the knack for things going his way when they really shouldn’t.

Most of the time you have no sympathy for the character as he gets in yet another
scrape thanks to being a randy sod. How he gets out of the messes is the key to this tale.

In this adventure he picks up a Norwegian companion who knows of his reputation, finds him in Napoleon’s France, doing a few errands for the Emperor. Due to yet another inadvisable shag, the pair have to leave France for the US in a hurry. Gage is an emissary for Napoleon in regards what we now know as the Louisiana Purchase. The President of the day, Jefferson, sends him off to inspect the potential purchase.

His Norwegian companion is looking for far more than an exploration of the land around the Mississippi. He is out find the Hammer of Thor and quite possible Yggdrasil, the Norse tree of life. He has heard of reports of blue-eyed Indians and believes that the Norse ended up in the mid-West after their discovery of the New World.

The duo head into the wilderness pursued by enemies both new and old. It’s a great tale of discovery, daring-do, with a touch of the mystical mixed in for good measure; a good adventure tale whose pace never lingers or bores. In fact, if you don’t know the series I would suspect many of you might seek out the previous books in the series.

An enjoyable non-complicated adventure read with a nice sense of history. There is lots to chew on in the tale, but none of it gets in the way of a good yarn.

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