Tor, Aug 2002, 24.95, 319 pp.
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.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner