cover image Daughters of Fire

Daughters of Fire

Tom Peek. Koa (SCB, dist.), $20 trade paper (496p) ISBN 978-0-9821656-2-1

Peek's debut, a political treatise masquerading as a novel, is an earnest pitch for Hawaii for the Hawaiians%E2%80%94haole (foreigners) keep out! Otherwise, Pele, the volcano goddess, will make you very, very sorry. This magical realist eco-thriller begins with a cameo appearance by a very repentant King Kamehameha in 1801 as the Hualalai volcano destroys much of his kingdom. The present-day story starts with the first meeting of Gavin McCall, an Australian astronomer, and Maile Chow, a Hawaiian anthropologist. These two seem to have been brought together by the gods to save Hawaii from evil developers and to have a lot of badly-written sex. Early on, they are unwitting witnesses to the murder of a man by the Hui, the Hawaiian mafia, as is an equally unwitting tourist from the mainland. Why was the man murdered? Will the Royal Paradise Bay resort be destroyed by unhappy gods? What's with Gavin's accent? The book includes some moderately interesting Hawaiian myth and history, but Peek telegraphs the solution to the mystery well in advance of the end of the novel. There's no fun in having our foregone conclusions confirmed. (Oct.)