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Valhalla    by Robert J. Mrazek order for
by Robert J. Mrazek
Order:  USA  Can
Signet, 2014 (2014)
Paperback, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Wow! Talk about thrillers. Valhalla by Robert J. Mrazek ranks high amongst their best. Wasn't too sure when I opened this one. Though I was intrigued by the cover an Arctic landscape with crackled ice, a blurred man in the background and a Viking axe tipped with blood which drew me in.

An expedition team searching for a World War II bomber stumble on the find of a lifetime. Sure, the plane is found. But the discovery of the wreckage of an ancient ship five hundred feet below the ice, and nine perfectly preserved Viking crewmen, make the expedition's day. The Rune markings prove that the find is more than a thousand years old!

The world's most learned archeologists assemble to work on this extraordinary piece of history that might just change the view of Columbus as the discoverer of America. Unfortunately, there are always unscrupulous people who work to thwart the work that needs to be done to authenticate a relic.

The leading expert on runic writings is called to read a stone that might have the story of the Viking ship on it, as well as clues about Leif Ericson. Harvard academic Lexy Vaughn feels able to decipher the stone's writings; but others are more interested in the value of the stone and how it will benefit their incredible plans to right the world's wrongs to most everyone's detriment.

It's hard not to imagine the Arctic winds blowing and the cold leaching its way into the team's bodies. Mrazak has a way with words that can hold you in thrall, hardly able to read and turn the pages fast enough to behold what comes next. A former U. S. Congressman, he has a number of books to his credit, both fiction and non-fiction. He also wrote the law that saved the Battlefield of Manassas in Virginia from being turned into a shopping mall. Valhalla is a good one to read before the warmth of a blazing fire.

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