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The Dakota Cipher
An Ethan Gage Adventure #3

by William Dietrich


I am a fan of books like this, as they pique my mind and make me think about the founding of this country, with all the many peoples' vision that required, and all the possibilities that might have come before or after the history-making events that actually happened.†William Dietrich has taken Ethan Gage into several places around the globe as a "savant" to emperors and generals with a war to be won or a fight to be fought.†Gage is a sort of mercenary, who works for the man who pays him the highest fee, whether that fee is entrance to the court of a country's rulers or closeness to a general or the lust of a comely lady.†This time Gage gets himself involved with Bonaparteís sister-in-law, and a man named Magnus Bloodhammer helps get Gage out of a precarious position.

Gage and Bloodhammer stay one step in front of several groups who are after the same things they are, through a thrilling trip and the battle to stay alive. What's that trip about? Have you ever heard of Thorís Hammer? Do you think it's possible that Norse people arrived on the continent of America centuries before any of Columbusís ships and the settlers left behind from that expedition, much less before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock? Are you sure that the Indians were the only people to settle the American midwest before Lewis and Clark made their way towards Oregon and long before the Spanish ever explored the interior of what is now America?

Dietrich is a masterful writer, never putting too much or too little out for the reader to grab hold of. He dresses his story with just enough truth and historical content to reel the reader into the life and times of Gage and his quest.††The Dakota Cipher†is a totally believable story made even more so, now that artifacts have actually been found in the middle of our country which date back to the 1300s and are of Norse origin. A really captivating book; I enjoyed it from the first page to the last. I will read more from Dietrich, especially the Ethan Gage series.

The Book

Harper, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
March 2009
0061568007 / 978-0061568008
Historical mystery / 1801 / North America
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The Reviewer

Claudia Turner VanLydegraf
Reviewed 2009
© 2009