The Age of Odin by James Lovegrove (2011 book #14)

The final book – for now, at least – in Lovegrove’s Age Of… series, The Age Of Odin has been the most enjoyable of them to read. Possible spoilers for all three books in the series ahead, so don’t click on read more if you want to avoid them.

As you might expect from the title and the earlier works in the series, this is Lovegrove’s attempt at Ragnarok, with gods and men fighting together against the traditional enemies of the Norse pantheon (Loki, the frost giants) and some modern takes on traditional names (Fenrir, Jourmagand etc).

In search of employment during a period of global cooling, ex-soldier Gid Coxall finds himself at Asgard Hall, where someone claiming to be Odin is recruiting troops for the Valhalla Mission. After discovering that Odin – and, by extension, a lot of other characters – is the real thing, Gid goes through a series of adventures and battles with the forces lined up against the gods, with most of the prophesised events of Ragnarok taking place.

It’s not a deep and challenging book, but it’s good fun as Coxall rises through the ranks as the battles get bigger and bigger and the dwindling forces of Asgard struggle to survive. As with The Age of Ra, Lovegrove can get away with a lot more in a world where gods like this exist as there’s a basic assumption that the rules are different, even though fate and destiny are ever-present, lurking inescapably in the background. Lovegrove’s also helped by the fact that the Norse pantheon are a very human bunch of gods, more concerned with fighting than anything else.

That said, it’s still a flawed book for me – the identity of Mrs Keener is pretty obvious to anyone with a passing acquaintance with the mythology and the ending leaves a lot to be desired, both in terms of the way the main crisis is resolved and the ‘it was just a dream…or was it?’ coda, which leaves some plot points and questions dangling. Overall though, not bad as a fun read, but not much more than that.