The Hammer of Eden: A Novel

Follett, Ken

Published by Crown Pub 1998, 1993
ISBN 10: 0609603086 / ISBN 13: 9780609603086
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Synopsis: Ken Follett hits the top of his form with The Hammer of Eden, a state-of-the-art suspense thriller to rival his best.
        
When controversial radio talk host John Truth broadcasts a terrorist threat of a man-made earthquake, few people take it seriously. Crackerjack young FBI agent Judy Maddox is assigned to track down the elusive, sinister group called the Hammer of Eden.

Judy's boss, who has a grudge against her, thinks he has given her a waste-of-time assignment. But Judy's research leads her to maverick seismologist Michael Quercus, who gives her the shocking news that it might just be possible for an earthquake to be deliberately triggered. And when a tremor in a remote California desert shows evidence of being machine-generated, Judy knows the threat is terrifyingly real.

Suddenly in charge of a life-or-death investigation, Judy must pinpoint the terrorists' next target, with the help of the erratic but attractive Michael. Their compelling romantic drama is played out as they race to beat the terrorist deadline and prevent an unthinkable disaster.
        
Unknown to them, Michael's estranged wife, gorgeous but angry, has fallen under the spell of a clever, sexy cult leader called Priest--and they have stolen from Michael's computer the key data that enables the Hammer of Eden to carry out their cataclysmic threat. Worse still, Michael's son is with his wife--and under the control of Priest. All of them are in mortal jeopardy as Judy and Michael fight to save San Francisco from being brought down in ruins. Ken Follett became a best-selling author in 1978 with the publication of Eye of the Needle, which won the Edgar award and became a major motion picture.  He has since written numerous other best-selling thrillers and historical novels, including The Third Twin, and A Place Called Freedom.

Review: Ken Follett shook the mystery world with his debut (now classic) novel, The Eye of the Needle, and now he's shaking the earth again with The Hammer of Eden. Or, at least his bad guys are shaking it. The novel begins with a series of flashbacks while Priest and his girlfriend Star plot to steal a seismic vibrator. Priest, an illiterate street tough turned hippie guru, is rallying his commune to fight back against the state of California. Living out of time and out of society, the commune grows its own food, makes wine, and smokes a lot of dope, but the lives of Priest and his cohorts are about to be destroyed by the construction of a new power plant in their valley. Priest takes his cue from Melanie, a seismologist who joined his commune after being shaken by marital difficulties. With their seismic vibrator and under the code name Hammer of Eden, they plan to rock California with earthquakes until they get a promise of work stoppage. Judy Maddox is on their case. Daughter of an Irish American cop and a Vietnamese mother, Judy's slight in form though a rising force in the FBI. Office politics have placed her on a ludicrous case involving an earthquake threat, but the more she looks at the Hammer of Eden, the more she is convinced that the threat is for real. Her contact, seismologist Michael Quercus, provides compelling evidence that a major catastrophe is in the offing. From there, the novel becomes a race between Judy and Michael and the increasingly deadly and desperate Priest and his followers. The Hammer of Eden isn't, in the end, as groundbreaking as some of Follett's earlier work; the commune's jump from peace-loving band of hippies to state terrorists happens just a bit too quickly. Nevertheless, Follett's gift for plotting and intrigue keep the cracks in the narrative in check, and the denouement is sure to send tremors through the most sturdy of readers. --Patrick O'Kelley

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Hammer of Eden: A Novel
Publisher: Crown Pub 1998
Publication Date: 1993
Binding: Hardbound
Edition: First.

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