After four volumes of space adventures two million light years away on the planet Vinea, Wotan’s Fire is a return to Earth-based adventure. Yoko’s friend Ingrid, previously seen in The Devil’s Organ, invites Yoko to come and visit her in Germany at a castle above the Moselle river near Koblenz. Ingrid is an organist who is particularly knowledgeable about historical music, and is at this castle to authenticate some ancient instruments. What she finds among them is an old but highly advanced piece of technology, and there’s only one person she knows with the skills and fearless intellect to deduce what it is. The two young women find themselves in the middle of a very dangerous web of intrigue as there are some shadowy people who want to get their hands on what Ingrid has discovered and will stop at nothing to do so.

Roger Leloup adds authenticity by setting the action in real locations, with a twisty chase sequence between a car and a train taking place around the Wuppertal suspended railway, a monorail that looks like a special effect but has been in use in the city since 1890. Yoko’s pilot’s license is needed as she flies a helicopter out of Frankfurt and sails two kinds of boat to a dramatic conclusion in Brittany. There are interesting echoes of Blake and Mortimer in the style of this fast-moving adventure and the strange electrical weapon that Ingrid uncovers, with plenty of detailed explanation for the advanced technology that lights up the finale. It’s all drawn with characteristic attention to detail for all the high-tech equipment and young readers should find themselves enthralled by the sheer range of Yoko’s abilities to handle them all with great expertise. Next in the Yoko Tsuno series is The Cannon of Kra.