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The Hammer of Darkness Paperback – 30 Jun 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st Trade Pbk. Ed edition (30 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076531567X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765315670
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 13.8 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,063,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

No matter what anyone claims, writers are made, not born, and what and how they write is the result of just how they were made... or how they made themselves. I began by writing poetry, which was published only in small magazines, and then went on to write administrative reports while I was a U.S. Naval aviator, followed by research papers, speeches, economic and technical studies, and policy and briefing papers. Along the way, I've been a delivery boy; a lifeguard; an unpaid radio disc jockey; a U.S. Navy pilot; a market research analyst; a real estate agent; director of research for a political campaign; legislative assistant and staff director for U.S. Congressmen; Director of Legislation and Congressional Relations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; a consultant on environmental, regulatory, and communications issues; a college lecturer and writer in residence; and unpaid treasurer of a civic music arts association.

As a result, my writing tends to incorporate all of the above, in addition to the science fiction I read from a very early age. After close to sixty published novels, and perhaps a score of short stories, it's fairly clear to me that "what kind of writer" I am for readers tends to depend on which of my books each reader has read.

Along the way, I've weathered eight children, a fondness for three-piece suits [which has deteriorated into a love of vests], a brown Labrador, a white cockapoo, an energetic Shih-tzu, two scheming dachshunds, a capricious spaniel, a crazy Saluki-Aussie, and various assorted pet rodents. Finally, in 1989, to escape nearly twenty years of occupational captivity in Washington, D.C., I escaped to New Hampshire. There I was fortunate enough to find and marry a lovely lyric soprano, and we moved to Cedar City, Utah, in 1993, where she directs the voice and opera program at Southern Utah University and where I attempt to create and manage chaos in the process of writing.





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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TimG on 28 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
LE Modesitt seems to be known for his fantasy, whilst in this humble reader's opinion his sci-fi is by far the better writing and an excellent read. I highly recommend dipping into any of his sci-fi work and then buying every one you can get your hands on! Involving plots, moral dilemmas, believable universes and characters - this is how sci-fi should be, in my opinion.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan Lunt on 22 Oct 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot but like this book ,I have never read one of his I did not enjoy another treat in store for his fans
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 28 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
twilight of the gods 26 Jun 2003
By K. Maxwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is not for everybody. The first time I read it I didn't like it. However, I picked it up again at a later time and read it again when my memories of my first reading had somewhat blurred. Somewhat to my own surprise I found that I really enjoyed the novel and I found much in it that I had missed when I first read it and have since read it more than twice.
Martin Martel is a rebel. He fell in love with the daughter of the ruler of his planet. For this crime, and also because he was found to have high esper potential, he was exiled to "the planet of the gods, " where for all intents and purposes he became one himself. However, Martel does not believe in "gods" no matter what fancy name or titles they use and he knows that he is human and is determined to live like one despite what the other "gods" and local mortals try to force him to acknowledge. He is a stubborn man beyond all reason at times and more powerful than anyone else realizes.
This book is almost abstract to read, it leaves a lot the to readers imagination, but it is also lyrical and almost poetical at times. It is my favorite book by this author. The story itself is an allegory of the fall of the gods of ancient Greece in a scifi setting, about the consequences of denying the truth of your own abilities and the risks people take in forcing action when some things are better left alone.
The individual qualities of this book my be blurred if you have read much of this authors later work as his writing style has in many ways remained remarkably unchanged, and he continually explores similar themes and hero-types, but for me, this the first book of this author that I read before he become well known will always remain my favorite.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
My favorite book... 5 Aug 2000
By Matthew A Callahan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've been reading the classics of both Speculative Fiction and General Literature recently, trying to expand my horizons. Nevertheless, I have yet to find a book I've enjoyed as much as Hammer of Darkness. Like a lot of Modesitt's books, it's a story of an isolated person who's forced to cope with awesome powers and responsibility. My brother tried to read it and found the novel boring and hard to follow. I can understand where a lot of people would think that way. This book is not for everybody.
Why should you read it then? First of all, because it is very short. It can likely be read in a few hours. Second of all, the action is unparalleled. There are better drawn characters in other great works, but very little that is as exciting. Also, the book does a wonderful job of making an epic storyline take place in such a short space, and Modesitt manages to tie all of the loose threads together at the end.
Also, the scene between Thor and Martin Martel about two thirds of the way through stands out as my favorite scene from any piece of prose fiction ever. It's so powerful, and it simply must be experienced. You'll be tempted to read this and other scenes quickly. Don't do so. Modesitt's extreme attention to detail, like Martin Martel holding Thor's hammer in his left hand and the detail given to Thor's battle goats, really adds to the piece.
In summary, if you've got a good imagination, and can really see, hear, taste, smell, and feel what you're reading, then this is definitely the book for you. I rarely give five star ratings in my reviews, not wanting to rate everything under the sun as being best in its category, but this book certainly deserves it.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Do you love the Recluce books? 2 Aug 2006
By Greger Wikstrand - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Perhaps you are considering this book because you love the "Recluce"-books by the same author and you are now asking yourself if you would be disappointed or not?

Well, there are many similarities between this book and his later work. Yes, the hero is a young man who is exiled because of his powers. Yes, he does take up a humble occupation as a sort of TV announcer (rather than a junior engineer, carpenter, smith etc). And yes, circumstances finally force him to use his VAST powers to 'set things right'. The latter includes sending ships to new planets (as in Fall of Angels).

The writing style is also similair with most of it written as a sort of first hand account of the events and small parts as excerpets from the legends the events engendered.

What about order and chaos? Well, there are different kinds of magical power, the hero's black power while other beings possess white/gold powers. The powers are much more neutral and less intricately described than in the later works. But there is a lot of using "senses" and so on.

The only thing you do not get is the medieval setting, this is more SF and futuristic.

In short, you will find all the elements of his later work in one brief volume. That makes for an exciting book spanning a lot of philosophical, moral and religiuous questions.

* If you have read his later work, you might enjoy reading this to see where it all started.

* If you have not read his later work, this might be a good place to start.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
What if gods were just humans that had LOTS of psi? 31 May 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Martin Martel has loved unwisely. The Duke of the planet
is NOT amused. Martel is exiled to the planet of the gods,
Aurore. Martel has the capability to challenge the gods.
He does not. He instead becomes a media person. The gods
keep wanting him to declare himself as a new god. He refuses.
The entire book is about denying your nature and its consequences.
Should he do what he wants or should he do what he ought?
This is a gripping pschological thriller.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
One of his best novels! 11 July 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Hammer of Darkness is one of Modesitt's best novels. It's also one of the hardest to read and understand. It was about the third time I read the book before I realized that everything is written in the present tense. Modesitt also doesn't take the time to explain the broken dialog, the half thoughts of the characters, nor does he provide background for the characters. As a result I think many will find the narrative confusing and difficult to get through. I first purchased this novel back in 1985 or 1986. I've read it at least a dozen times and I always find something new every time I read it.

Like many of Modesitts later novels, this novel deals with power, it's uses and abuses, religion, and tyranny. There are also many references to greek history and mythology that may confuse a reader if they are not familiar with those subjects.

Here's the basic story with minor spoilers. The main character Martin Martel is discovered to be a full range esper. He's banished to the world of Aurore. Aurore is a unique planet with a 'energy field' that amplifies ESP. On Aurore, Martin discovers that he could be one of the 'gods', the espers that basically rule the planet. All espers fall into classes based upon the strength of their powers. Gods, demi-gods, heros, etc. Martin would rather be just a man and that sets up his confrontations with the 'gods' of Aurore. There's more, but I won't spoil it.
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