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The Hammer of Eden

The one thing Californians fear most is a full-scale earthquake. The thing Priest fears most is the destruction of his commune in the Sierra Nevada foothills – the one place he can hide from his mobster past. He has to make the Governor of California listen to him. And now he has a way. He knows how to create an earthquake. And if his demands aren’t met, the next quake is just 48 hours away…

The Hammer of Eden is a story where the bad guys figure out how to cause an earthquake. They use a machine called a seismic vibrator which is an enormous hammer mounted on the back of a truck. It is usually used to find oil. The hammer sends shockwaves through the earth’s crust and the reflections of the vibrations are then mapped to show the sub-surface of the earth.

Ken’s view

I got the idea from New Scientist magazine. The debate about what actually causes earthquakes is long running and multi-faceted. There is a theory called the low stress theory which suggests that the triggering event of an earthquake is a relatively weak vibration in the earth’s crust.

I figured that if that theory was correct then a terrorist group could hijack a seismic vibrator and use it threaten an earthquake to further their own aims. That’s where the fun starts. I think The Hammer of Eden is my best book so far.

Listen to Ken’s view on The Hammer of Eden


Read the first chapter

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  • “Crackles with suspense!” — The Daily Telegraph
  • “This book is so exciting I found myself setting my alarm clock for four in the morning to finish it!” — The Daily Mail

Published as

The Hammer of Eden by Ken Follett, Macmillan, London, 1998.

Also published in other languages, and available as an audiobook and as an ebook.