Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning Thor, Odinâ€™s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods and Lokiâ€”son of a giantâ€”blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thorâ€™s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a womanâ€”difficult with his beard and huge appetiteâ€”to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasirâ€”the most sagacious of godsâ€”is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people. Through Gaimanâ€™s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again. 304 pages. 8.3 in. x 5.8 in. Paperback.