Ken Follett burst into the book world with Eye of the Needle, an award-winning thriller and international bestseller. After several more successful thrillers, he surprised everyone with The Pillars of the Earth and its long-awaited sequel, World Without End, a national and international bestseller. Follett's new, magnificent historical epic, the Century Trilogy, includes the bestselling Fall of Giants, Winter of the World, and Edge of Eternity. He lives in England with his wife, Barbara.
Richard Granger, a charismatic fugitive known as Priest, controls a long-established winemaking commune in northern California that loses its government lease because of a dam project. Ignoring other alternatives, his group becomes "The Hammer of Eden" and threatens to cause an earthquake unless the governor halts construction. When the threats are ignored, Priest uses a seismic vibrator to ever-increasing effect. San Francisco-based FBI agent Judy Maddox teams up with a seismic expert who is estranged from one of the terrorists and attracted to Judy; together, they guide the FBI in a frantic effort to prevent an earthquake on the Embarcadero. The promising concept and characterizations are weakened by too many coincidences and the sympathetic portrayal of Priest, an antihero of the first rank. Though Follett's latest thriller is not at the level of his earlier titles (e.g., The Third Twin, LJ 9/15/96), his fans and the planned media blitz will create demand.ÄV. Louise Saylor, Eastern Washington Univ. Lib., Cheney
After 20 years of writing bestselling novels, Follett is enough of a pro to produce a reliable page-turner from a flimsy premise‘as he does here. His working out of how a rural, socially radical California commune moves not heaven but earth to stave off the loss of their land to a government dam and the ensuing flood is smartly paced if nearly devoid of inspiration. What distinguishes it is not the communards' weapon, a stolen seismic vibrator generally used by oil companies to sound for liquid gold but also handy for starting earthquakes. Nor is it the mechanical progression of the plot, as the radicals, calling themselves the Hammer of Eden, escalate threats and consequent quakes in order to blackmail the state into halting the dam until the finale finds them about to devastate San Francisco. Nor is it the by-the-book chase of the terrorists by a headstrong female FBI agent who might have walked onstage from any of a dozen other thrillers. What does‘other than its efficient telling‘raise the novel above mundanity is the depth of characterization of its villains, a Follett forte since his splendid debut in Eye of the Needle. Follett devotes many pages to backstory, creating in Priest, once a smalltime hood and now the commune's leader, in Star, his hippie earth-woman, and in Melanie, a bitter young beauty who throws in with the commune, fully realized outcasts, crazed and desperate idealists whose actions are as believable as they are heinous. All else in the novel, including the perfunctory prose, serve only to push the story quickly through its paces, but Follett's troupe of lost souls makes it dance to a memorable, mournful tune. Agent, Al Zuckerman; major ad/promo; simultaneous Random House audio and large-print edition. (Nov.)
Praise for The Hammer of Eden "Follett ratchets up the Richter scale of suspense."--USA Today "Peerless pacing and character development . . . The Hammer of Eden will nail readers to their seats."--People (A Page-Turner of the Week) "The thrills hit unnervingly close to home in Follett's latest white-knuckler."--San Francisco Chronicle "Riveting . . . taut plotting, tense action, skillful writing, and myriad unexpected twists make this one utterly unputdownable."--Booklist (starred review) "A model of how a thriller ought to be written. Follett keeps it crisp and rachets up the tension. . . . Time speeds up as the danger escalates." --Los Angeles Times "Follett does a first-class job of creating a fictional universe and then inviting the reader to live in it. His substantial research pays off as well, because he writes about the world of earthquakes with the same authority he displays when discussing the technical aspects of the FBI's inner workings." --Newark Star-Ledger "Amazing . . . Hollywood could have some fun with The Hammer of Eden." --Orlando Sentinel