"So, at some point, the age of gods came to an end."
Or so it was believed for eons...until Thrym the Hollow, Jotunheim's deposed King of the Frost Giants, rose from death.
This time, he would not rest until his foes were eviscerated, and h
Prologue Like the death cry of an antique god, thunder tore the night sky asunder and the northland trembled at its fury. It was loud enough that Jan-Olaf Kjell felt its rumble in the hollow of his chest. He turned, boots crunching the snow, his fishing gear and his catch for the day banging against his back and legs.A quarter of a mile back, the river raged; ice floes swept along with the current as it twisted and turned through the frozen hills of Lapland. Twelve miles south, the river flowed through Skellesvall, and some hundred miles beyond that, into the Gulf of Bothnia. Jan-Olaf lived by himself outside of Skellesvall and had never been south of the Arctic Circle. This was what he knew of the world, but this he did know. This land, this river, these hills. Forty-seven years he had fished the banks of the river at a secret spot his father had found decades before that. His father was dead now, but Jan-Olaf still believed what his father had told him.The gods had blessed the river. As long as it was approached with the proper respect, it would never fail to provide all the fish he could hope to carry home. Forty-seven years, Jan-Olaf had seen the proof of it, and his father and grandfather, and who knew how many Kjell men before them? Always a secret, though, because the men of Skellesvall would surely taint the blessing of the gods and ruin it all.Jan-Olaf smiled. The gods. He was a Christian, but his father had always said that the old gods were forgotten but not gone, that it was best to give them the respect they were due, just in case. Just in case...With a brilliance that made him flinch and shield his eyes, lightning tore a wound in the sky, fire from the heavens reached an accusing finger toward the ground. Three seconds later the thunder came again, a crack so loud it was as though the earth itself had split in two. Jan-Olaf swore aloud and nearly covered his ears, though of course it would have been too late to protect them from the roar.A deep frown creased his forehead. He knew this land. This was his world, and he understood all there was to understand about it. But now, this early evening, lightning split the night from a perfectly clear, star-filled sky. Thunder roared without storm or heat or even much wind.Impossible.Again the sky brightened as a fresh tendril of lightning sliced the dark from earth to stars. It was followed immediately by yet another, this slashing down at an angle, cutting diagonally across the horizon. Thunder rolled across the land, echoing in the hollows and thumping upon the snow.Jan-Olaf stared, eyes narrowed, at a spot to the northeast where the first bolt of lightning had touched ground. The first, yes, but also the second, and the third...and again the lightning split the night. The roar of thunder now had enough power to rattle his remaining teeth, and Jan-Olaf was certain that the snow moved under his feet.An absurd thought went through his mind, then, but he could no more prevent it than he could touch the sky.The gods, Jan-Olaf thought, and a shiver passed through him that had nothing to do with the temperature.It angered him, this thought. He glanced around to mark his place -- he was perhaps half a mile from his truck, just below a cleft in the hill where he and his father had camped once, long, long ago. Then Jan-Olaf dropped his equipment and his catch and set off on a direct course to the northeast. With the snow giving way beneath his boots, it took him more than half an hour to make the trek up the steep hill and then down the other side. Large stone outcroppings jutted from the ground and served both as landmarks and resting areas that would prevent him from tumbling the rest of the way down.The sky remained pristine and clear, only the stars to mar the perfect darkness. Or that was how it ought to have been, were it not for the unnatural lightning, which only in