Published March 24, 2009
Ethan Gage, the hero of Napoleon’s Pyramids and The Rosetta Key, begins The Dakota Cipher just wanting to enjoy the fruits of victory after helping Napoleon win the Battle of Marengo and end an undeclared naval war with the United States.
But a foolish tryst with Bonaparte’s married sister, and the improbable schemes of a grizzled Norwegian named Magnus Bloodhammer, soon sends our adventurer on a new treasure hunt that will have him dodging scheming aristocrats and hostile Indians in frontier 1801 America.
Newly-elected President Thomas Jefferson, setting up house in raw Washington, D.C., convinces Ethan and Magnus to investigate reports of woolly mammoths and blue-eyed Indians on a scouting expedition that precedes Lewis & Clark.
The pair fail to share with the president their own quest: A search for a Norse artifact in a distant wilderness with the power to change the course of empire. Does myth have a core of truth? And is legend an echo of mysterious history?
Ethan’s epic journey takes him across the Great Lakes to country no white man has seen, but not before he becomes entangled with a British temptress, a comely captive, a French voyageur, and a landscape as breathtaking as it is perilous.
Ancient Norse runes will lead him to his most fantastic discovery yet – and to wonder, danger, mystery, and sorrow that will test every ounce of wit and skill Gage can muster.
Meglaith: Book of the Year, 2009
Top Read of the Year, 2009
Action Hero of the Year, 2009
“Fast, fun and full of surprises, Dietrich’s rollicking third Ethan Gage escapade (after The Rosetta Key) takes the expatriate American diplomat and soldier-of-fortune home to investigate the Louisiana territory, preceding Lewis and Clark, for Napoleon, who claims it was secretly sold back to France. Accompanying Ethan is Magnus Bloodhammer, a Norwegian berserker who hopes to find Thor’s Hammer, a magic talisman of his people supposedly brought to America by Knights Templar hundreds of years before Columbus sailed. With the blessing of President Thomas Jefferson (who asks him to keep an eye out for woolly mammoths), Ethan and Magnus light out for the northwest, where their steps are dogged by vindictive British loyalists, hostile Indians and unlikely disciples of an Egyptian snake cult. The tale twists and turns like a spitted serpent, but Dietrich shows his sure hand as a storyteller, leavening a tale rich in intrigue and impressive historic detail with abundant wit and humor.”
–Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“As always, Dietrich’s dialog is crisp and the characters believable, even if the plot is an excitement-filled stretch including evil Brits and nubile Indian maidens. The descriptions of Gage’s journey are breathtaking, as Dietrich richly illustrates the people and settlements of the Northwest and Great Plains. This fun blend of history and adventure makes for a terrific, fast-paced read as Gage once again winds up inadvertently impacting history.”
“Dietrich does an excellent job of creating the historical settings of the novels, and the real-life characters Ethan meets along the way (in this novel, it’s Thomas Jefferson) feel just right – not labored creations but real people. A spirited installment of what promises to be a long-running series.”
“William Dietrich is a born stylist, moving characters around on an historical chessboard with the assured hand of a master novelist firing on all cylinders. Ethan Gage is a wiry, battle-scarred hero, with great decency, who rings absolutely true. And The Dakota Cipher is a supple, elegant thriller that carries the reader triumphantly from one exciting climax to the next.”
–Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Venetian Betrayal.
“William Dietrich’s The Dakota Cipher should be read by anyone who loves adventure at its grandest, or humor both smart and sharp, or romance with a wild heart. For that matter, why even qualify it? The novel should simply be read by everyone!”
–James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Oracle.
“Dietrich is a master storyteller who knows exactly how to keep his readers enthralled.” Elizabeth Hawksley, Historical Novel Review
“It’s exciting, it’s informative, and it gives us modern Americans a glimpse into what it was to live in our newborn republic.”
–Scott Parker, New Mysery Reader Magazine.
“A superb continuation of the romp-like style of the earlier books, with the same witty wordplay, clever interaction between characters, and all-around fun. Highly recommended.”
–Robert Thompson, Fantasybookcritic.com
“This is high adventure of the best kind, the kind that makes us sorry to see it end, but hope for another adventure.”
–John M. Formy-Duval, About.com.