The Hammer of Eden

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The Silver River Valley vineyards in California have flourished in the twenty- five years since the vines were planted on leased land by a group of hippies. Their leader, a man who calls himself Priest, saw the establishment of their commune as an opportunity to live in peace with nature while lying low to avoid criminal prosecution. Now their grapevines will be covered with water when the new power plant is built, and because the commune does not own the land, there will be no compensation from the government to pay for the loss.

Priest’s new lover, a young woman named Melanie, is a seismology student who knows how an earthquake could be triggered using a seismic vibrator if the vibrations are set off at exactly the right place. Priest exploits this knowledge and sends terroristic threats to the governor, saying The Hammer of Eden will create an earthquake if their demands are not met.

Judy Maddox, an FBI agent who determines from handsome seismologist Michael Quercus that the threatened terrorist act is possible, leads an intense search for The Hammer of Eden. When the first deadline passes and a minor earthquake hits a remote area, the FBI knows it is working against time to save the population from the earthquake threatened for a heavily populated region.

Skillfully blending the lives of the time-warped hippies with the technology- rich world they want to threaten, Ken Follett creates a terror-filled thriller that seems all-too-possible for comfort.