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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
An Earth-Shattering Read
Years ago, Ken Follett established himself as one of the leading writers of espionage fiction with his now-classic The Eye of the Needle. What seemed most refreshing about that book — besides the intricate plot and the edge-of-your-seat suspense — was that the villain was in many ways as fascinating as the heroine. Many Follett novels have come out in the intervening years — some terrific, others good but not great — but I'm happy to report that he has written what may be his best novel since The Eye of the Needle. In addition to the smooth, lyrical prose (a rarity in thriller fiction), the villain of The Hammer of Eden, a man known as Priest, is one of the most fully realized bad guys in thriller fiction history.
Out in the middle of Texas, Priest, who is calling himself Ricky, hitches a ride with a young Mexican-American truck driver named Mario. Mario pines for his beautiful wife and two children back in El Paso, so he works night and day in order to realize his dream for his family's happy future.
Priest has other dreams for Mario's future.
A truck Mario is slated to drive out of Shiloh, Texas, carries a seismic vibrator — a machine that can practically shake oil out of the earth. Priest is leader of a commune in California that has a different use for the vibrator. He will stop at nothing to steal Mario's truck and deliver the prize to his own version of an extended family. After all, when your family's threatened, you have to protect it, right — even if it means murder?
Priest's commune looks like a peaceable kingdom — from the outside. Since the late 1960s, they've been producing wine, eating vegetarian, and living the hippie ideal. But when the government threatened to take away their land in order to develop a power plant, it's a call to action, for many in the group have put nearly 30 years of their lives into their beloved acreage. So, they do what any disgruntled organization might do: threaten their governor. One amongst the commune is a former seismologist who knows that it's possible to cause a major earthquake if the conditions are right. She's already sent an anonymous note on the Internet that the "Hammer of Eden" (as they now call themselves since adopting terrorism as a method of getting what they want) will cause a major quake in California if nuclear power plants are not shut down across the state.
And Priest is getting closer to obtaining the "hammer" that may just explode the San Andreas Fault into an unprecedented geological disaster.
Enter Judy Maddox, an Asian-American FBI agent. She's just brought down the hammer of justice on several Asian hoods that other FBI agents hadn't been able to manage for years. Certain to be up for a top promotion, Judy gets passed over by a man. To add insult to injury, her boss puts Judy on some dumb case concerning a loony-tunes Internet threat about some group causing an earthquake. But as Judy gets more involved in the case and learns that the threat is very real, The Hammer of Eden kicks into high gear. What happens when Judy closes in on the man who wishes to turn Nevada into prime beachfront property is a cat-and-mouse game of epic proportions.
The Hammer of Eden is not to be missed; Follet's writing and the twists in his tale have never been better! Highly recommended.
— Douglas Clegg
Douglas Clegg, is the author of numerous horror and suspense novels, including The Halloween Man and Bad Karma, written under his pseudonym, Andrew Harper. His recent Bram Stoker-nominated short story "I Am Infinite, I Contain Multitudes" can be found in the anthology The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Volume 11.