Eden's Gate (2001)

Eden’s Gate is a novel by author David Hagberg, who is well known for international thrillers. This one fits into the Bill Lane series of novels, which is his lesser known series. Bill Lane is a hero type that works for an undercover agency that is able to cut through the red tape around Washington, and answers directly to the President, something akin to Brad Thor’s hero- Scott Harvath.

The plot centers around a horrible secret. The Nazi’s had a secret lab, which was destroyed at the end of the war. The idea is that their secret is quite powerful, and now some Germans living in Montana of all places decide to go after it. The Montana Germans are really ex-East Germans from the secret police force known as Stasi. With this secret, they can hold the American superpower hostage, extort megabucks from the US, and have their plan for world domination, etc., etc., etc. If this starts to sound like the plot from Dr. Evil in an Austin Power’s movie, then you’re starting to get the idea. The whole thing has been overdone way too many times before, and there’s little new here in the overall plot.

There are some neat parts to the novel. This includes diving into a flooded Nazis bunker, and a skirmish on the high seas aboard a freighter. Hagberg also does an admirable job of keeping the true nature of the Nazis secret known for most of the novel. Truthfully, this was one of the few things that kept me reading on, and kept me from guessing the rest of the novel (and no, I’m not going to tell it to you here).

Still, overall, this plot, which is five years old, still felt quite tired to me. Cussler’s Black Wind, albeit written more recently, is along the same lines of a lost WW II secret, but kept my interest a lot better. Eden’s Gate had several passages that I had to read more than once to even comprehend what was happening, something I almost never have to do which points to some confusing writing. Combine that with a global cast of characters, and settings around the globe, and it appears that there was too much plot to develop in a mere 300 page book. Something simply isn’t working here, and the novel feels a little half baked at times.

While I’ve enjoyed this author before, Eden’s Gate simply isn’t Hagberg at the top of his game. On the other hand though, it is a little prophetic as it was written before 9/11, and the issues developed have certainly been a concern ever since. Oh, in case you’re wondering, Eden refers to the Cuban beach that they plan to retire to after they’ve made more dough than they know what to do with. In case you’re planning a trip to a warm tropical beach, I’d suggest bringing something other than Eden’s Gate to pass the time in the sun and sand.

Overall Grade: B-

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Also reviewed by Hagberg:
Joshua's Hammer
By Dawn's Early Light

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