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William Dietrich books in order

William Dietrich is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, college professor, PNBA award-winning non-fiction writer and author of historical mystery and thriller novels.

Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, he holds a degree in journalism from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University, and was also a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Dietrich worked for multiple Pacific Northwest newspapers and Gannett News Service, and won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, alongside three other Times journalists, due to his coverage of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

He made his debut as a novelist in 1998 with his World War II adventure Ice Reich, which came to being thanks to his reporting in Antarctica.

Dietrich has since 2006 been working as a professor of environmental journalism and writing at Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University, where he also advises Planet magazine.

He currently lives in Washington State with his wife and children.

More about William Dietrich

Genres: Historical Mystery, Mystery, Thriller

United States

Non Series

  • Ice Reich (1998)
  • Getting Back (2000)
  • Dark Winter (2001)
  • Hadrian's Wall (2004)
  • The Scourge Of God (2005)
  • Blood of the Reich (2011)
  • The Murder of Adam and Eve (2014)


  1. Hotel Angeline: A Novel in 36 Voices (2011)

Ethan Gage

  1. Napoleon's Pyramids (2007)
  2. The Rosetta Key (2008)
  3. The Dakota Cipher (2009)
  4. The Barbary Pirates (2010)
  5. The Emerald Storm (2012)
  6. The Barbed Crown (2013)
  7. The Three Emperors (2014)
  8. The Trojan Icon (2016)


  1. The Final Forest: The Battle for the Last Great Trees of the Pacific Northwest (1992)
  2. Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River (1995)
  3. Natural Grace: The Charm, Wonder, and Lessons of Pacific Northwest Animals and Plants (2003)
  4. The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby (2014)
  5. Napoleon's Rules: Life and Career Lessons from Bonaparte (2015)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

Ice Reich

This World War II Nazi thriller about Antarctica and bioterrorism begins with a light plane caught in a murderous snowstorm with a body strapped to its underside. It spans a world war, three continents, and is infused with an extraordinary love affair. This first novel by a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist is a gripping tale of scientific intrigue set against the eerie, silent white landscape of Antarctica - and the bloody, violent backdrop of history itself.

Owen Hart is a Montana cowboy turned bush pilot who is recruited in 1938 by a fanatic new government in Germany that calls itself the Third Reich. Traveling to Berlin, Hart is ushered into the inner sanctum of Hermann Goring and to a lavish soiree attended by the players recruited for a Nazi-backed exploration of Antarctica. Though he is wary of his fellow adventurers and impervious to their politics, Hart sees the chance to do what he does best - fly. And he sees something else, a beautiful German biologist who will accompany the expedition.

On a small seaplane tender the Nazi expedition reaches Antarctica: a vision of unspoiled crystalline white looming up out of a cobalt sea. Then, on a small island on the edge of the continent they have come to claim, the Germans discover horror: a Norwegian whaling vessel blanketed by some mysterious and horrible pestilence. Exploring the island, Hart and biologist Greta Heinz discover a warm volcanic spring deep inside the ice, while their shipmates begin to die from the same disease that struck the Norwegians.

Suddenly, Goring's expedition is coming violently undone. But for Hart, Greta, and the Germans, the unraveling of the mystery has just begun. It will take years, tragic separation, and a harrowing return to war-torn Germany before the American pilot has the chance to wrest the secret hidden deep in Antarctic ice - a secret that could affect the outcome of World War II.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-0446523394
Publisher: Warner Books
Getting Back

Stifled and frustrated by company policy, Daniel jumps at the chance to go on a wilderness challenge in the Australian Outback. However, when he arrives he realises that the corporation does not intend for him to survive the trip.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2000
Ebook: B0036VOBRI
Dark Winter

A murder mystery, horror thriller, and saga of love, community and survival at the South Pole.

Imagine you're standing at the very bottom of the planet. Fierce winter winds howl out of the icescape. The night is illuminated by cold stars. There is no possibility of flight, no possibility of outside aid. The imagine that, among the group of people around you - the people you must work with, live with, and trust with your life - there is at least one killer...

At the Amundsen-Scott research base, winter temperatures can dive to minus 110 F. Outside is the beauty and hostility of the coldest, cleanest place on earth. Inside is the constant throb of generators, the smell of fuel oil, and twenty-six men and women who've come here from all walks of life - an uneasy mix of personalities, specialties, sexual tension, and outright conflict. They are about to become the unwitting subjects of a psychological experiment. One by one, the winter-overs begin to die.

Jed Lewis is the last arrival before winter descends at the South Pole, cutting off all flights in or out. A geologist who has jettisoned a high-paying job with an oil company - a rock hound in a place where there are no rocks - he's drawn into the controversy over the discovery and theft of a meteorite worth millions on the open market. When the meteorite disappears, Lewis is accused. When the killings begin, every bit of evidence points to him.

Suddenly Jed finds himself with only one ally, a woman in a search for community and companionship similar to his own. But even she begins to doubt his motives. And in such an extreme environment, is survival the ultimate test of individual self-reliance? Do humans belong at the Pole?

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2001
Ebook: B00381B95S
Hadrian's Wall

For three centuries, the stone barrier we know as Hadrian's Wall shielded Roman Britain from the unconquered barbarians of the island's northern highlands. But when Valeria, a senator's daughter, is sent to the Wall for an arranged marriage to an aristocratic officer in 367 AD, her journey unleashes jealousy, passion and epic war. 

Valeria's new husband, Marcus, has supplanted the brutally efficient veteran soldier Galba as commander of the famed Petriana cavalry. Yet Galba insists on escorting the bride–to–be on her journey to the Wall. Is he submitting to duty? Or plotting revenge? And what is the mysterious past of the handsome barbarian chieftain Arden Caratacus, who springs from ambush and who seems to know so much of hated Rome?

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2004
Ebook: B000YQHMEM
Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
The Scourge Of God

The Roman Empire is weakening. In 367 AD, approximately eight years after the great battle at Hadrian's Wall, Roman garrisons begin to hear rumors of barbarian tribes massing to the north. By 449 AD, Attila, the ruler of the Huns, has become the continent's most powerful monarch, his reputation in battle earning him the title "The Scourge of God."

Anticipating an imminent attack by the Huns, Roman leaders negotiate with one of Attila's lieutenants, convincing him to play the part of assassin. He is joined on his mission by a Roman citizen, Jonas, an ambassador dispatched to negotiate a peace treaty with the Huns. 

When the plot is discovered, Jonas becomes a hostage, forced to fight for his captors if he wishes to remain alive. But he soon learns that Attila intends to conquer Rome itself, and is caught between two mighty empires, both poised for one of the greatest conflicts the world has ever seen. Jonas, knowing his life could be forfeit, has the potential to tip the battle in either direction––and his decision will alter the face of Western civilization.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2005
Ebook: B000YQHMGU
Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
Blood of the Reich

On the eve of World War II, explorer Kurt Raeder receives orders from Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler to set out from Berlin in search of a legendary energy source hidden among the mountains of Tibet - one that could bring victory to the Nazis. Only one man can stop Raeder and his team of SS officers: wealthy American zoologist Benjamin Hood. Together with aviatrix Beth Calloway, he must race to the Buddhist kingdom before the tides of history run red with blood.

Decades later, in present-day Seattle, software publicist Rominy Pickett is saved from certain death by a mysterious journalist who claims to know the truth about her family. Rominy's history and courage hold the key to defeating, once and for all, the evil forces again on the rise.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-0061989193
Publisher: Harper Collins
The Murder of Adam and Eve

When 16-year-old Nick Brynner explores an old fort on a forbidden island for a school history project, he stumbles onto a time wormhole. 

What follows is a mysteriously deserted village with a prowling sentry that looks like a gargoyle, and narrow escape with the help of fellow teen Eleanor Brynner. The two are hurtled into a grim series of challenges by an alien race called the Xu, which are considering a Reset of human history because of our poor planetary stewardship. 

If Adam and Eve are murdered, will another couple, or another species, do better? Nick and Ellie are ruthlessly deposited onto the African savanna of fifty thousand years ago, and the hunt is on. 

The Murder of Adam and Eve is a coming of age story, a love story, a war story, and an environmental fable with a deliberately provocative ending, inspired by such books as "Walkabout," "Ishmael," "Lord of the Flies," and the author's own "Getting Back." If you could change history...would you?

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2014
ISBN: 978-0990662105
Publisher: Burrows Publishing


Hotel Angeline: A Novel in 36 Voices

Thirty-six of the most interesting writers in the Pacific Northwest came together for a week-long marathon of writing live on stage. The result? Hotel Angeline, a truly inventive novel that surprises at every turn of the page.

Something is amiss at the Hotel Angeline, a rickety former mortuary perched atop Capitol Hill in rain-soaked Seattle. Fourteen-year-old Alexis Austin is fixing the plumbing, the tea, and all the problems of the world, it seems, in her landlady mother’s absence. The quirky tenants—a hilarious mix of misfits and rabble-rousers from days gone by—rely on Alexis all the more when they discover a plot to sell the Hotel. 

Can Alexis save their home? Find her real father? Deal with her surrogate dad’s dicey past? Find true love? Perhaps only their feisty pet crow, Habib, truly knows. Provoking interesting questions about the creative process, this novel is by turns funny, scary, witty, suspenseful, beautiful, thrilling, and unexpected.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-1453258279
Publisher: Open Road Media

Ethan Gage

Napoleon's Pyramids

What mystical secrets lie beneath the Great Pyramids? Traveling with Napoleon's ambitious expedition, American adventurer Ethan Gage solves a five-thousand-year-old riddle with the help of a mysterious medallion.

Ethan Gage, assistant to Ben Franklin and expatriate American in post-revolutionary France, wins an ancient—and possibly cursed—medallion in a card game one night. It turns out that the medallion, covered in seemingly indecipherable symbols, may be linked to a Masonic mystery. That same night, however, Ethan is framed for a prostitute's murder and barely escapes France with his life.

Faced with either prison or death, Gage is offered a third choice: to accompany the new emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, as France sails to conquer Egypt—with Lord Nelson's fleet following close behind. 

Once Gage arrives, he encounters incredible surprises: one in the form of a beautiful Macedonian slave and another in the dawning knowledge that the medallion may solve one of the greatest riddles of history—who built the Great Pyramids, and why. What is revealed to Gage is more shocking than anyone could ever have imagined.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-0062191489
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
The Rosetta Key

Surviving murderous thieves, a nerve-racking sea voyage, and the deadly sands of Egypt with Napoleon's army, American adventurer Ethan Gage solved a five-thousand-year-old riddle with the help of a mysterious medallion. But the danger is only beginning....

Gage finds himself hurled into the Holy Land in dogged pursuit of an ancient Egyptian scroll imbued with magic, even as Bonaparte launches his 1799 invasion of Israel, which will climax at the epic siege of Acre. Pursuing Napoleon to France, where the general hopes ancient secrets will catapult him to power, the wily and inventive Gage faces old enemies with unlikely new friends, and must use wit, humor, derring-do, and an archaeological key to prevent dark powers from seizing control of the world.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-0061468810
Publisher: HarperLuxe
The Dakota Cipher

Ethan Gage, the hero of Napoleon's Pyramids and The Rosetta Key, just wants to enjoy the fruits of victory after helping Napoleon win the Battle of Marengo and end an undeclared naval war with the United States.

But a foolish tryst with Bonaparte's married sister and the improbable schemes of a grizzled Norwegian named Magnus Bloodhammer soon send Ethan on a new treasure hunt on America's frontier that will have him dodging scheming aristocrats and hostile Indians.

In 1801 newly elected president Thomas Jefferson, taking office in the burgeoning capital of Washington, D.C., convinces Ethan and Magnus to go on a scouting expedition - one that precedes that of Lewis and Clark - to investigate reports of woolly mammoths and blue-eyed Indians.

The pair have their own motive, however, which they neglect to share with the president: a search for the mythical hammer of the Norse god Thor, allegedly brought by fugitive Norsemen to the center of North America 150 years before Columbus. Can the hammer control thunder and lightning? Is there a core of truth to this myth?

Ethan's journey takes him across the Great Lakes to country no white man has seen, but not before he becomes entangled with a British temptress, a comely captive, a French voyageur, and a landscape as breathtaking as it is perilous.

Ancient Norse runes will lead him to his most fantastic discovery yet - and to wonder, danger, mystery, and sorrow that will test every ounce of wit and skill Gage can muster.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0062191434
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
The Barbary Pirates

American explorer, adventurer, and lover Ethan Gage has braved the sands of Egypt, the perils of the Atlantic Ocean, and the harsh wilderness of early America. Now he finds himself in a desperate race with a powerful band of North African Muslim outlaws. The prize is the Mirror of Archimedes, an ancient superweapon that now, in 1802, could tip the balance of power in the Mediterranean.

Can Ethan rescue his lost love, Astiza, without betraying the cause of his own United States? Can he save the two-year-old son he only recently learned of without allowing the fiendish Egyptian Rite to dominate the world? And when the sun rises on the Mirror of Archimedes, will everything Ethan cares about go up in flames? 

Racing from the brothels of Paris to the canals of Venice to the dungeons of Tripoli, Gage will face his ultimate reckoning on the high seas—as he battles to prevent the destruction of the American, English, and French fleets at the ruthless hands of . . . The Barbary Pirates!

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2010
ISBN: 978-0062191410
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
The Emerald Storm

The year is 1803. Swashbuckling, ribald, and irreverent hero Ethan Gage has outsmarted wily enemies and survived dangerous challenges across the globe, from the wilds of the American frontier to the pyramids of Egypt. 

Now the rakish hero finds himself in the Caribbean with his wife, Astiza, on a desperate hunt to secure the lost treasure of Montezuma—a legendary hoard rumored to have been hidden from Cortés's plundering Spanish conquistadors. 

Hot on his heels are British agents who want the gold to finance a black slave revolt in Saint-Domingue, robbing hostile France of its richest colony. The French, too, seek the treasure for the secrets it contains, the key to an incredible new means of invasion that can ensure Britain's defeat—on its own land.

Caught between the French and the rebel slave forces, Ethan and Astiza are in a race for gold and glory that will thrust them into the center of a bloody struggle for freedom as they try to rescue their son. And this time, Gage's luck may be running out.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-0061989216
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
The Barbed Crown

Rogue and adventurer Ethan Gage returns to Paris and London. Against a background of imperial pomp and the gathering clouds of war, Gage plots revenge on Napoleon Bonaparte for the kidnap of his son.

Paris, the “City of Lights,” shines – but alongside its splendor is great squalor. Heroic patriotism rubs against mean ambition, while grand strategy and back-alley conspiracy are never far apart.

While Ethan spies on the French court, his wife, Astiza, works to sabotage Napoleon’s coronation using the Crown of Thorns, a legendary relic said to have come from the Crucifixion itself. But when Napoleon is crowned nonetheless, they flee to England.

At Walmer Castle on the English coast, Gage joins a daring campaign by Smith, Fulton, rocket inventor William Congreve and smuggler Tom Johnstone to halt Napoleon’s intended invasion of England – a campaign which leads Ethan to take a role in the Battle of Trafalgar itself…

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-0062253767
Publisher: HarperLuxe
The Three Emperors

Adventurer Ethan Gage travels through the darkest and most superstitious realms of eighteenth century Europe, to the castles and caves of Bohemia to rescue his family and uncover a mysterious medieval device rumored to foretell the future.

Having quick-wittedly survived the battle of Trafalgar, Ethan is rushing to rescue “Egyptian priestess” Astiza and son Harry from imprisonment by a ruthless mystic who seeks revenge for disfigurement, and an evil dwarf alchemist who experiments with the occult on Prague’s Golden Lane.

Using death as his ruse, and a pair of unlikely allies—a Jewish Napoleonic soldier and his sutler father—Ethan must decipher clues from Durendal, the sword of Roland. Astiza uses her own research to concoct an explosive escape and find a lost tomb, their tormentors in relentless pursuit.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2014
ISBN: 978-0062326768
Publisher: HarperLuxe
The Trojan Icon

This action begins when the American adventurer Ethan Gage and his wife, Astiza, are recruited to steal two Polish swords from the world’s most formidable treasury. Gage must break into a vault in the Peter and Paul fortress before Prussia ends Polish dreams of independence.

Yet that quest is only the beginning of challenge. Murder, ambush, royal treachery, and the mysterious appearance of a long-lost brother require a more daunting mission, requiring a sacrificial assault on a lair of pure evil.

From a Polish temple, to a Transylvanian castle, to the palace of the ruler of the Ottoman Empire, conspiracy and courage play out as Napoleon Bonaparte plots for domination. Populated by key players from history and based on real events, The Trojan Icon takes readers to a vivid world of passion, peril, and power in which the ancient past may change the fate of the world.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-0990662167
Publisher: Burrows Publishing


The Final Forest: The Battle for the Last Great Trees of the Pacific Northwest

Before Forks, a small town on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, became famous as the location for Stephenie Meyer's Twilight book series, it was the self-proclaimed "Logging Capital of the World" and ground zero in a regional conflict over the fate of old-growth forests. 

Since Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist William Dietrich first published The Final Forest in 1992, logging in Forks has given way to tourism, but even with its new fame, Forks is still a home to loggers and others who make their living from the surrounding forests. 

The new edition recounts how forest policy and practices have changed since the early 1990s and also tells us what has happened in Forks and where the actors who were so important to the timber wars are now.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 1992
ISBN: 978-0295990620
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River

When Lewis and Clark reached the Columbia River in 1805, they found a roaring and unruly river with a treacherous mouth and confusing course, boasting salmon runs without equal in the world. William Dietrich, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author of The Final Forest, reveals the heroic stories, triumphant engineering, and disturbing taming of this powerful, beautiful river.

Northwest Passage is a masterwork of history, geography, and science, a sweeping overview of the transformation of the Columbia from its geologic origins and aboriginal inhabitants to its pioneers, settlers, dam builders, farmers, and contemporary native Americans.

The Columbia is the second largest river, by volume, in the U.S. and the largest on the west coast of the Western Hemisphere. Its terrain varies from rain forests with more than 100 inches of precipitation a year to desert with as little as 5 inches per year. 

It was once the most inexhaustible of rivers with as many as 16 million fish pushing up its 1,200-mile length each year to spawn and die in its hundreds of tributaries, a run supporting one of the most populous and complex native cultures on the continent.

Before the European discovery of the Columbia River, dreaming merchants and intrepid explorers risked their lives and their money to find the entrance to and navigate the wildly unpredictable course of this "Great River of the West." 

Native Americans clung to the Columbia as the root of their culture, colonizers came in search of productive land and an efficient trade route, and industrialists seeking energy transformed the region's wild beauty. 

The Columbia of today is a product of its yesterdays. It is docile, run by engineers and turned on and off by valves with fourteen major dams on the river and more than 500 in its basin.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 1995
ISBN: 978-0295999326
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Natural Grace: The Charm, Wonder, and Lessons of Pacific Northwest Animals and Plants

From the interactive clockwork world of geology, tides, Northwest weather, and snow, to the hidden roles of dirt, stream life, and mosses and lichens, Pulitzer Prize winning writer William Dietrich explores the natural splendors of the Pacific Northwest. His topics include alder and cedar; jellyfish, geoducks, crabs, and killer whales; mosquitoes and spiders; gulls, crows, and bald eagles; and sea otters, coyotes, raccoons, possums, deer, and cougars.

This informative and engaging selection of natural history essays is adapted from articles published in the Seattle Times magazine, Pacific Northwest. A native Washingtonian, Dietrich has watched the Northwest double in population during his lifetime. Our rapidly changing view of nature is an underlying theme throughout his wide-ranging essays, as is the timely and essential question of how best to share and conserve the natural world that drew us to the region in the first place.

Not a field guide nor an environmental policy book, Natural Grace is intended as a primer for people who are curious about the environment they live in and the pressures upon it. "We only care about what we know," says the author. "I've concluded that enthusiasm and commitment begin from learning just how marvelous this region is: Passion has to precede purpose." And there is much to marvel over. 

Dietrich has unearthed fascinating and unexpected facts about his subjects, and he has a gift for expressing complex information in clear and vivid language. He asks intriguing questions and makes good use of interviews with Northwest scientists and experts to convey current and historic attitudes and economic realities, and to consider where we go from here.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-0295982939
Publisher: University of Washington Press
The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby

• Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Dietrich presents the rich history and challenges facing this rugged habitat just hours from Seattle.

• In his foreword, Richard Louv examines the importance of preserving our local wilderness areas for generations to come.

• Poet Gary Snyder shares musings from his time spent as a fire lookout in the region.

• Guidebook author Craig Romano encourages boots-on-the-ground exploration, from day hikes to more ambitious backcountry travel.

• Christian Martin, of North Cascades Institute, profiles leaders dedicated to protecting this landscape.

• Twenty photographers, including Art Wolfe, Ethan Welty, Benj Drummond, Paul Bannick, Amy Gulick, and Steven Gnam, bring the North Cascades to stunning visual life.

From the summit of Mount Baker to the sandy bottom of the Skagit River, Washington's North Cascades hold some of the most sublime mountain summits, lowland old growth forests, and pristine rivers on the planet. 

Some of these features are safely contained within national park boundaries or federally designated wilderness areas, but few people realize how many acres remain unprotected to this day. With a growing regional population, and development putting more pressure on this region, The North Cascades draws our attention to the many reasons that the integrity of this rich ecosystem must remain intact.

Released in 2014 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the landmark Wilderness Act, and the 50th anniversary of the original North Cascades photo book by The Mountaineers that helped inspire the creation of North Cascades National Park. More than twenty conservation and recreation organizations working in the North Cascades lent their perspective to this book.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2014
ISBN: 978-1594857713
Publisher: Mountaineers Books
Napoleon's Rules: Life and Career Lessons from Bonaparte

“What a novel my life has been!” Bonaparte exclaimed in exile. "Napoleon’s Rules: Life and Career Lessons from Bonaparte" is a history that mines the conqueror’s maxims to provide business, career, and life advice. His extraordinary success and failure provides fifteen comprehensively examined “rules” that readers can learn from. 

The book is deliberately concise, brisk, and provocative, drawing on the astonishing details of Bonaparte’s career to explain his victories and mistakes. Aimed at executives, entrepreneurs, military officers, students, or anyone who is ambitious and interested in learning from the meteoric arc of one of history’s greatest men.

Author: William Dietrich
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-0990662150
Publisher: Burrows Publishing