cover image Slaughtered Gods

Slaughtered Gods

Thilde Kold Holdt. Solaris, $16.99 trade paper (656p) ISBN 978-1-78618-745-1

Holdt sticks the landing with the satisfying conclusion to her Hanged God trilogy (following 2021’s Shackled Fates), a fascinating exploration of whether the universe is governed by fate or free will. The plot centers on whether Ragnarok, the long-foretold twilight of the Norse gods, can be averted as two characters attempt to stop it in very different ways. Ragnar, a bard who has repeatedly miraculously survived dying, knows that Odin, the Alfather, is prophesied to die during Ragnarok, “torn apart by the great wolf, Fenrir,” one of the trickster god Loki’s three monstrous children. So Ragnar decides to kill Odin himself as soon as possible, thus preempting the fall of the gods. Meanwhile, Ragnar’s daughter Hilda, a warrior who survived her hometown’s destruction and is haunted by visions of Ragnarok, adopts a different plan. Hilda hopes to kill Fenrir so that the beast will not be alive to kill Odin. Holdt keeps readers on the edge of their seats as to whether either long-shot scheme will succeed—and how they might affect the fates of gods and men. Lush prose and epic battles only enhance this well-crafted series finale from a rising genre talent. Agent: Jamie Cowen, Ampersand. (Oct.)