Tom Clancy
Divide and Conquer (Tom Clancy's Op-centre)

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

Pages: 480

Published: September 4, 2000

Price: 180THB