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HAMMER OF THE EARTH
SUSAN KRINARD
ISBN# 0-373-80224-2
February 2006
Luna
233 Broadway, New York, NY 10279
Paperback
$13.95
474 Pages
Fantasy
Rating: 4 Cups

Rhenna of the free people leads a ragged group of survivors on a quest for the Hammer of the Earth, a weapon that can be used in their fight against the Priests of the Stone. Rhenna is an Amazonian and a natural born leader; all of her band accepts her leadership. However, she has had to make a difficult trade for it in that she feels she must remain apart from Cian, the man she loves, if she is to be a good and fair leader. So despite her feelings, she watches as Cian develops relationships with other women. Since they do not know if they will survive their quest, she holds her pain inside.

Cian, an Ailu shapeshifter, is the one who will carry and wield the hammer when they find it. While Cian accepts the responsibility to fulfill prophecy, in truth he wants only the love of Rhenna. Women from the peoples they encounter constantly pursue him. Despite the temptation, he resists and instead focuses on their group goal of getting to the holding place of the hammer, and on helping Rhenna to protect the group.

Pursued on all sides by soulless creatures created by Baalshillek, the head Stone priest, and fickle Gods and Goddesses, the group fights to survive their journey. With each new meeting, they find distrust that in the end turns to awe when the people realize the prophecies are being fulfilled. However, the awe soon turns to terror when it becomes apparent the powers of the Stone are reaching towards them ever more steadily. When they reach New Monroe, the true horror is revealed as one of their own betrays them, and the hammer is more than any of them bargained for, and twice as tricky to wield. It is only when a group of priests step in to help, and an ancient goddess speaks through one of their group, that there is a possibility of any kind of victory.

I truly enjoyed reading this book! The author clearly did her research into the ancient peoples of Africa, and it shows in the development of the story line and the characters. In addition, there is a true realism when it comes to the characters' relationships with the different aspects of divinity such as the Devas, Gods, and Goddesses, which is rare in many fantasy books. Also, Ms. Krinard does an excellent job of drawing you along bit by bit, revealing a piece at a time of the story and keeping you interested. The relationships between the members of Rhenna’s band are descriptive and easy to relate to. The characters are well developed and have their own distinct personalities and motives, including the secondary characters, which made the story that much more believable. I highly recommend this book as it would be a welcome addition to anyone’s library whether they typically read fantasy or not.

Regina
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

 

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