Excerpt from The Hammer of Eden by Ken Follett, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Hammer of Eden

by Ken Follett

The Hammer of Eden by Ken Follett X
The Hammer of Eden by Ken Follett
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 1998, 404 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 1999, 436 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Although he had been here only two weeks, Priest had won the trust of his co-workers. But he had not figured out how to steal the seismic vibrator. And he had to do it in the next few hours, for tomorrow the truck was scheduled to be driven to a new site, seven hundred miles away, near Clovis, New Mexico.

His vague plan was to hitch a ride with Mario. The trip would take two or three days--the truck, which weighed forty thousand pounds, had a highway speed of around forty miles per hour. At some point he would get Mario drunk or something, then make off with the truck. He had been hoping a better plan would come to him, but inspiration had failed so far.

"My car's dying," he said. "You want to give me a ride as far as San Antonio tomorrow?"

Mario was surprised. "You ain't coming all the way to Clovis?"

"Nope." He waved a hand at the bleak desert landscape. "Just look around," he said. "Texas is so beautiful, man, I never want to leave."

Mario shrugged. There was nothing unusual about a restless transient in this line of work. "Sure, I'll give you a ride." It was against company rules to take passengers, but the drivers did it all the time. "Meet me at the dump."

Priest nodded. The garbage dump was a desolate hollow, full of rusting pickups and smashed TV sets and verminous mattresses, on the outskirts of Shiloh, the nearest town. No one would be there to see Mario pick him up, unless it was a couple of kids shooting snakes with a .22 rifle. "What time?"

"Let's say six."

"I'll bring coffee."

Priest needed this truck. He felt his life depended on it. His palms itched to grab Mario right now and throw him out and just drive away. But that was no good. For one thing, Mario was almost twenty years younger than Priest and might not let himself be thrown out so easily. For another, the theft had to go undiscovered for a few days. Priest needed to drive the truck to California and hide it before the nation's cops were alerted to watch out for a stolen seismic vibrator.

There was a beep from the radio, indicating that the supervisor in the doghouse had checked the data from the last vibration and found no problems. Mario raised the plate, put the truck in gear, and moved forward fifty yards, pulling up exactly alongside the next pink marker flag. Then he lowered the plate again and sent a ready signal. Priest watched closely, as he had done several times before, making sure he remembered the order in which Mario moved the levers and threw the switches. If he forgot something later, there would be no one he could ask.

They waited for the radio signal from the doghouse that would start the next vibration. This could be done by the driver in the truck, but generally supervisors preferred to retain command themselves and start the process by remote control. Priest finished his cigarette and threw the butt out the window. Mario nodded toward Priest's car, parked a quarter of a mile away on the two-lane blacktop. "That your woman?"

Priest looked. Star had got out of the dirty light blue Honda Civic and was leaning on the hood, fanning her face with her straw hat. "Yeah," he said.

"Lemme show you a picture." Mario pulled an old leather billfold out of the pocket of his jeans. He extracted a photograph and handed it to Priest. "This is Isabella," he said proudly.

Priest saw a pretty Mexican girl in her twenties wearing a yellow dress and a yellow Alice band in her hair. She held a baby on her hip, and a dark-haired boy was standing shyly by her side. "Your children?"

He nodded. "Ross and Betty."

Priest resisted the impulse to smile at the Anglo names. "Good-looking kids." He thought of his own children and almost told Mario about them; but he stopped himself just in time. "Where do they live?"

"El Paso."

The germ of an idea sprouted in Priest's mind. "You get to see them much?"

Excerpted from The Hammer of Eden by Ken Follett. Copyright© 1998 by Ken Follett. All rights reserved. Excerpted by permission of Crown, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes was read and reviewed by 22 BookBrowse members for First ...
  • Book Jacket: The Judge Hunter
    The Judge Hunter
    by Christopher Buckley
    In London 1664, Balthasar de St. Michel or "Balty" has no discernable skills besides pestering his ...
  • Book Jacket: Star of the North
    Star of the North
    by D.B. John
    It's summertime. You're looking for an absorbing thriller while you flop at the beach. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Clock Dance
    by Anne Tyler

    A delightful novel of one woman's transformative journey, from the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Summer Wives
    by Beatriz Williams

    An electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power and redemption set on an island off the New England coast.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.