WRITING STYLE: 4/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
Equality has never been mankind’s forte, ever, and society rules have always more or less tried to segregate different classes of people. While the idea was to keep the inequality so that people would want to strive to better themselves and do great things, the reality is that, barring an odd example here and there, poor have stayed poor and the rich have stayed rich. And so, there are many problems, reasons for being bitter and the flippant attitude of the better off. What happens when the oppressed finally lose it and decide to act on their desperation?
That’s essentially the premise behind Ken Follet’s “The Hammer of Eden”. A small community of people, who do not want to deal with the outside world and sick of society and its rules, lease a small piece of land for next to no money and start a vineyard there that generates just enough money to tide them over. They are essentially off the grid and living peacefully, until they get a notice from the government to evacuate the land as it is needed to build a power plant.
The group of people, led by a man just named Priest, is in doldrums as to what to do about the situation the find themselves in, as none of them wants to go back to joining the regular-people society. They hatch a plan of stealing a seismic vibrator, as Melanie, one of the group, tells them it is possible to start an earthquake using those trucks. Priest, with the help of Star, steals the truck and they send a warning to the governor that unless they stop building the power plant, they will cause an earthquake.
Here enters FBI agent Judy Maddox, who is given the task of finding these perpetrators. Judy has her own problems as she is screwed over by the “old boys” club and is essentially assigned the case as no one believes the threat to actually be real. But she takes it up, and from then on, it is a race against Judy and Priest to see who succeeds first in their task.
No one will say that “The Hammer of Eden” is one of Ken Follet’s best efforts, but there is no denying that it is a page turner. While the book may not be as strong in terms of the plot as you would expect from a book written by Follet, he makes up for it by giving depths to the characters and also spending a considerable amount of time on their back stories. The result is that you end up rooting for both Priest and Judy to succeed, and that is what makes it such an interesting read. The POVs of both sides are compelling and you cannot wait for the climax to see how it pans out in the end.