In this compact tome (less than 200 pages) Byatt presents the key Norse gods, their enemies, and the foreordained destruction of them all. The story is framed with a young girl in WWII England who's been removed to the countryside to escape the bombings. She steeps herself in Asgard and the Gods, and we are electrified by the tale. Byatt's own poetic gifts revive the passion inherent in these myths and, will win over those who imagine they have outgrown such stories. The author provides a rationale for this book in an essay at the end. We as a planet are aswim in the possibility of self-destruction.