The Dakota Cipher
by William Dietrich
Harper Collins 2009
This is book number 3 in the Ethan Gage series. The year is 1800.
In this Book Ethan Gage travels from France back to his homeland of United States of America.
Napoleon Bonaparte has ownership of Louisiana (which at this time stretches from New Orleans all the way up the Mississippi River, almost to the Great Lakes) and Ethan is tasked by Napoleon to survey the land of Louisana and decide what would be the best thing to do with it - have it settled by the french or sell it to the americans.
Ethan also meets with President Jefferson who is interested in mythology and he has heard stories of mammoths and elephants being in North America. Ethan must also find the elephants.
Ethans' third task is to help his friend Magnus Bloodhammer (from Norway) to find proof that the USA actually belongs to the Norwegians because the Vikings were there first.
Magnus and Ethan travel across the land by canoeing the rivers and walking across the Appalachian Mountains to Lake Erie and then by boat to the fortress called Detroit.
In Detroit, Ethan meets up with Aurora Somerset and her brother Lord Cecil Somerset, who are descended from british nobility. They were forced to leave Britain in a hurry due to a shocking scandal of some sort. They are out to find a source of great wealth and knowledge for their Egyptian Rite group - an offshoot of the old Egyptian mystery schools.
Ethan and Magnus travel with Aurora and Cecil by canoe up Lake Huron and along the northern coast of Lake Superior, all the way to Grand Portage in what is now Minnesota. Aurora makes many attempts to seduce Ethan and get him to tell her what he and Magnus are looking for.
At Grand Portage emotions come to a head, mostly over 2 Mandan Indian slave girls, who Marcus and Ethan try to rescue from their Dakota Indian captors. Ethan, Marcus, the two girls (Namida and Little Frog) and a fellow named Pierre, are all forced to head west on their own. But the Somersets are not far behind.
Along their route to the west, Magnus and Ethan find a rune stone - a stone with Norse runes carved on it - along with a date....1362. This is the proof that Magnus was looking for. Proof that the Vikings were in the Americas long before the British, the French and the Spanish, so the Norwegians really do have the right to claim the land.
After many weeks of travelling west, and having crossed the Red River of the North (that flows north to Lake Winnipeg and from there to the Hudson Bay), the group end up at the Sheyenne river in what is now North Dakota.
There they find Yggdrasil, the great tree of the Viking legends. It has an electric wire running down the middle. The tree is struck by lightening on a regular basis.
Inside this tree, Ethan and Magnus find Thors hammer and a sheet of gold with Latin writing on it. The words on this gold sheet include Thira, Og, Atlantis and Poseidon. The final battle for this tree and the gold sheet occurs. Cecil, Magnus, Namida and Little Frog all die. Only Aurora and Ethan escape with their lives - and that is only because Aurora chooses to not kill Ethan. She decides to follow him instead.
Some day, some time, some where, they WILL meet again.
Book 1 Ethan Gage Series
Book 2 Ethan Gage Series