Holt Between Two Opinions

My collection of resurrected reviews included two books by Tom Holt which I have gathered into one post: Valhalla and Snow White and the Seven Samurai.

Placing them next to each other for the first time in many years, I note that my dislike of reviews that give away the plot was already strong but I had less regard for avoiding repetition.


Valhalla by Tom HoltIn this latest comic novel, Holt returns to his trademark fusion of the modern world and Germanic myth; this time it is the Norse Warriors’ afterlife that benefits from his touch.

As with so many of his books, several (apparently unconnected) different characters take leading roles, and slowly intertwine.

Without spoiling the plot, Holt has produced a consistent explanation for what Valhalla is, and how it works, which in turn leads on to the human reaction to the threat of death and the artists relationship with his agent.

Much of what is said would not look out of place in an essay on Norse religion, but the færie dust of Holt’s humour removes any hint of dryness.

To use a cliché, I could not put this book down… until night fell and I had to put it down to turn on the lights.

Requiring no knowledge of Holt’s other works, this book will be a joy to even those who have not encountered his works before.


I have a very strong association between this book and eating home-made mozzarella salad with a balsamic dressing; whether the memory stems from the book or the salad I am not completely sure. However, while I still enjoy the occasional return to Holt’s versions of Norse Myths I no longer find myself unable to put them down, so I suspect it is the beginnings of my adventures in food and not the strength of the prose that makes me feel nostalgia.


Snow White and the Seven Samurai by Tom Holt

The comfortable world of Fairy Tales (hey, I am a hero; I get the girl and the gold so it is comfortable for me!) has started to glitch. The Dwarves are still short, but are now Japanese. The Wicked Wolf is going through a bad chapter of his life.

Another of Tom Holt’s gentle twists on accepted tales. Not as funny as his early works, but still a joy.


When I entered this review on Goodreads, the cover of this book was instantly familiar. However, even with access to the plot summary, this review is the only evidence I have that I read the book.

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