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Billionaire Byron Trumbo wants to sell his posh Hawaiian resort to a Japanese investor but must make it appear prosperous while the deal is being struck. Due to the high prices, guests have been scarce. Unfortunately, they are becoming even scarcer as someone or something is kidnapping and murdering them. Drawn by the sketchy news accounts, Eleanor Perry has come to Mauna Billionaire Byron Trumbo wants to sell his posh Hawaiian resort to a Japanese investor but must make it appear prosperous while the deal is being struck. Due to the high prices, guests have been scarce. Unfortunately, they are becoming even scarcer as someone or something is kidnapping and murdering them. Drawn by the sketchy news accounts, Eleanor Perry has come to Mauna Pele on a sort of pilgrimage, using her aunt Kidder's 1866 travel diary as a guidebook. The events Kidder chronicled-tales of demons conjured up to rid the island of missionaries-seem to parallel the current events. As volcanoes erupt and vengeful gods and demons become more violent, Eleanor and her fellow guest, the indomitable Cordie Stumpf, attempt to get to the bottom of things.


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Billionaire Byron Trumbo wants to sell his posh Hawaiian resort to a Japanese investor but must make it appear prosperous while the deal is being struck. Due to the high prices, guests have been scarce. Unfortunately, they are becoming even scarcer as someone or something is kidnapping and murdering them. Drawn by the sketchy news accounts, Eleanor Perry has come to Mauna Billionaire Byron Trumbo wants to sell his posh Hawaiian resort to a Japanese investor but must make it appear prosperous while the deal is being struck. Due to the high prices, guests have been scarce. Unfortunately, they are becoming even scarcer as someone or something is kidnapping and murdering them. Drawn by the sketchy news accounts, Eleanor Perry has come to Mauna Pele on a sort of pilgrimage, using her aunt Kidder's 1866 travel diary as a guidebook. The events Kidder chronicled-tales of demons conjured up to rid the island of missionaries-seem to parallel the current events. As volcanoes erupt and vengeful gods and demons become more violent, Eleanor and her fellow guest, the indomitable Cordie Stumpf, attempt to get to the bottom of things.

30 review for Fires of Eden

  1. 5 out of 5

    Baba

    Yet another compelling and seemingly very well researched book by Dan Simmons. I am still recovering from the atrocious rationale behind 'Flashback', but his writing is so good in this, that I'm back in his stan already! An Hawaii set story told in two time zones - in the past told via letters by the adventurous travelling single woman Miss Lorena Stewart coming across Sam Clemson (essayist and travel writer) as the volcanoes are about to blow in the mid 19th century; and in the 1990s where a pr Yet another compelling and seemingly very well researched book by Dan Simmons. I am still recovering from the atrocious rationale behind 'Flashback', but his writing is so good in this, that I'm back in his stan already! An Hawaii set story told in two time zones - in the past told via letters by the adventurous travelling single woman Miss Lorena Stewart coming across Sam Clemson (essayist and travel writer) as the volcanoes are about to blow in the mid 19th century; and in the 1990s where a property tycoon is trying to sell his albatross of a very high-end elite holiday resort before the volcanoes blow. Stewart's descendent Eleanor Perry and free holiday competition winner Cordie Stumpf are our protagonists caught up in the drama. [image error] What brings these tales together? Murder, rape, gods, ghosts, lava, volcanoes and more!! And somehow, despite my lack of interest in ghost stories, this supernatural tale tied to native Hawaiian deities works wonderfully well; as does telling the tales using different formats; as does making the main protagonists women in their 40s and 50s! It's something I've just began to realise with Simmons so many of his leading protagonists are outside the norm, of age, body shapes, genders etc. Anyways another very interesting Simmons' jam which also introduces, to the lesser informed readers like me, native Hawaiian mythology :). 8 out of 12. Here's a GIF of some of the lava runs from the actual Kilaeua volcano in this book:

  2. 5 out of 5

    Raymond Walker

    Dan Simmons is one of my favorite writers and has been for many years now. I found his novels “Drood”, “Endymion” and “Hyperion” excellent in every way rating them five stars for each. “The Terror”, “Illium” and “The fall of Hyperion” all received four stars out of five. Yet even the best of authors such as Mr Simmons occasionally can write a novel that will not entertain as much as many of his others. This, I am afraid, is one of those. It is still a good novel and had it been from an author tha Dan Simmons is one of my favorite writers and has been for many years now. I found his novels “Drood”, “Endymion” and “Hyperion” excellent in every way rating them five stars for each. “The Terror”, “Illium” and “The fall of Hyperion” all received four stars out of five. Yet even the best of authors such as Mr Simmons occasionally can write a novel that will not entertain as much as many of his others. This, I am afraid, is one of those. It is still a good novel and had it been from an author that was new to me this would have had a great review but Mr Simmons has written so many excellent novels that perhaps I just expect a little more from him. This comedic horror novel, spans two centuries and is set in Hawaii where the gods of the mountain decide to wreak revenge upon unsuspecting Japanese businessmen on holiday. Add into this, roiling cauldron, Mark Twain’s female companion upon another trip to the island. The story is told deftly (as you would expect from an author of such great stature) and It is certainly worth noting that Mr Simmons has conquered yet another genre in the writing of this novel. Not his best novel but still very enjoyable, well written, planned and executed. To anyone that has not read one of Mr Simmons books, you will love this, it is excellent but when you read another of his (and you will) you will realize that this novel is on one of the lower rungs of the authors lofty and impressive list of books.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    This is one of Simmons' lesser known novels despite it's (somewhat tenuous) connection to the season/night books. It's set in Hawaii and follows two narratives, an epistolary past that includes Samuel Clemons, and a current (the book was published in 1994) narrative which includes what may be a Donald Trump analog. Simmons does a good job of including Hawaiian mythology and history in the story, subjects about which I knew very little. The plot develops at a more leisurely pace than many of his This is one of Simmons' lesser known novels despite it's (somewhat tenuous) connection to the season/night books. It's set in Hawaii and follows two narratives, an epistolary past that includes Samuel Clemons, and a current (the book was published in 1994) narrative which includes what may be a Donald Trump analog. Simmons does a good job of including Hawaiian mythology and history in the story, subjects about which I knew very little. The plot develops at a more leisurely pace than many of his more adventure-oriented books, but it's an interesting and engaging story, as well as a thoughtful picture of the native culture. For a hot time in the old town tonight...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    I have never been to Hawaii, but I really want to go. After reading Dan Simmons's "Fires of Eden", I really REALLY really want to go. It's not a nonfiction travelogue. It's a horror novel. It's one of the funniest horror novels I've ever read. And it made me want to visit Hawaii. It also made me hungry, but that's neither here nor there. The story takes place on the Big Island, the island of Hawaii, on a mega-resort called the Mauna Pele on the Kona Coast. The owner of the resort is a sleazy sup I have never been to Hawaii, but I really want to go. After reading Dan Simmons's "Fires of Eden", I really REALLY really want to go. It's not a nonfiction travelogue. It's a horror novel. It's one of the funniest horror novels I've ever read. And it made me want to visit Hawaii. It also made me hungry, but that's neither here nor there. The story takes place on the Big Island, the island of Hawaii, on a mega-resort called the Mauna Pele on the Kona Coast. The owner of the resort is a sleazy super-rich dude named Byron Trumbo (clearly modeled after Donald Trump) who is trying to finalize the sale of the resort with a Japanese buyer before the press gets wind of the fact that guests keep disappearing or getting killed at an alarming rate. Apparently, the vengeful Hawaiian male gods Kamapua'a, Pana-ewa, and a few others with way too many syllables have been summoned and are ripping the souls out of the bodies of numerous guests. They are upset at humans for destroying the land by putting up tacky hotels and golf courses. The goddess Pele, who is not so happy about the so-called "progress" either but nevertheless protects the island, is under attack. It's up to the timid not-so-old-maid college professor Eleanor Perry, and her new friend, Cordie Stumpf, to help Pele and save the island. And the world. They're on vacation (sort of), but they've come prepared to battle demons and gods. This is a fun and silly read from an author who, in my estimation, can do no wrong. There is a lot to enjoy in this novel, from the descriptions of the beautiful Hawaiian scenery, to the stories of Hawaiian folk tales and legends, to Simmons's break-neck suspense, to his wonderfully lovable and believable characters. There is even a parallel story involving Samuel Clemens, who visited Hawaii in 1866. If you're not a fan of Dan Simmons, this may not be his most exemplary work. It is, however, an entertaining supernatural suspense thriller-comedy (think "Ghostbusters" in Hawaii) that will take you on a mental vacation for a few hours.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Steve R

    A very good fantasy-horror novel set in Hawaii and dealing with its mythology and history both before and after the American occupation. A good mystery, a fanciful and imaginative supernatural background and real suspenseful horror which kept me turning pages. As well, Simmons uses one of his favorite devices - introducing one of his favorite writers as a character. In this case, it's Mark Twain. Highly recommended for those who love both Simmon's historical fantasy (Olympos) and pure horror (Ca A very good fantasy-horror novel set in Hawaii and dealing with its mythology and history both before and after the American occupation. A good mystery, a fanciful and imaginative supernatural background and real suspenseful horror which kept me turning pages. As well, Simmons uses one of his favorite devices - introducing one of his favorite writers as a character. In this case, it's Mark Twain. Highly recommended for those who love both Simmon's historical fantasy (Olympos) and pure horror (Carrion Comfort). First rate.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    I was extremely impressed by Fires of Eden. It is an adventure story set in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii today) well plotted with well-drawn characters, including a fictional Samuel Clemens. A fun read from start to finish.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sergey

    Dan Simmons prose is stark and vivid. This book made me feel like I am really in Hilo, Hawaii.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Florin Constantinescu

    This is one of Dan Simmons' trickiest books to read. Not that it's written in any difficult style, or following a particularly difficult plot. It's simply that it's well... different. I expected the expected from the author after reading the synopsis. Mega-serious scary thriller. Reading the book with this mindset left me puzzled for its first third, as all things were... wrong. So I decided that Dan Simmons must've visited Hawaii in the early 90's and lost a bet there, and was thus forced into w This is one of Dan Simmons' trickiest books to read. Not that it's written in any difficult style, or following a particularly difficult plot. It's simply that it's well... different. I expected the expected from the author after reading the synopsis. Mega-serious scary thriller. Reading the book with this mindset left me puzzled for its first third, as all things were... wrong. So I decided that Dan Simmons must've visited Hawaii in the early 90's and lost a bet there, and was thus forced into writing a novel about the archipelago's mythology. Dan Simmons being Dan Simmons just couldn't help it, and had to include a historical character (like he does in most of his novels). And, since the bet had not indicated the type of tone he had to use, he decided on writing a picaresque novel, and who better to include than Mark Twain. So there are going to be scenes of Mark Twain surfing (yea. surfing.), exploring volcanoes, stripping naked and rescuing lost souls from the underworld. Why not? And a whole slew of other cardboard characters, typical of the picaresque novel: the cold and calculated billionaire with three 'wives' put face-to-face with supernatural forces, the vengeful ex-wife with her attorney, the super-hot and gullible bikini dame, the young and single female history professor traveling the world, etc. With this change in mindset I immediately starting liking the novel. Using his fast-paced style the author does not let you put the book down for too long periods. His research in Hawaii history and mythology is, as always with his research, very thorough. Obviously, can't tell if it's correct or not, but who cares? The novel is also surprising in its ending sequence, especially when it comes to choice of heroic characters. Overall, a pleasant read, and a worthy addition to Dan Simmons' bibliography. Later, if you read the synopsis of 'Drood' and intend to read it, you're going to think it's another one of these 'trap / picaresque' novels of Dan Simmons'. Charles Dickens instead of Mark Twain, and more supernatural forces. Well... no! 'Drood' just couldn't be more different.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pat MacEwen

    This novel involves dual time-streams. In the present, billionaire Byron Trumbo has built an ultra-posh golf resort on the slopes of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, but it's now losing money hand over fist as his guests disappear, or wind up dead in strange circumstances. His goal? Sell it off to Japanese investors while ducking his wife, his girl friend AND his new girl friend, who converge on the resort like the Three Furies. One of his guests is Dr. Eleanor Perry, who arrives armed with a journal her au This novel involves dual time-streams. In the present, billionaire Byron Trumbo has built an ultra-posh golf resort on the slopes of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, but it's now losing money hand over fist as his guests disappear, or wind up dead in strange circumstances. His goal? Sell it off to Japanese investors while ducking his wife, his girl friend AND his new girl friend, who converge on the resort like the Three Furies. One of his guests is Dr. Eleanor Perry, who arrives armed with a journal her aunt wrote about her 1866 visit to the Sandwich Islands and the volcanoes, and her encounters with a brash newspaperman named Samuel Clemens as well as a raft of Hawaiian supernaturals, including Pele herself. Perry soon joins forces with another guest, Cordie Stumpf, who is full of surprises in her own right, including a loaded .38 in her tote bag. Together, they soon discover that Trumbo's modern day problems are directly related to those of 1866, and ending them will require, as it did then, a trip into the Hawaiian realm of the dead through doorways hidden inside lava tubes. This is not one of Simmons' best known works, but I enjoyed an unusual take on the supernatural feuds involved, and found Simmons' portrayal of Mark Twain a great deal of fun. Byron Trumbo threatened to become a cartoon figure of the very rich man/asshole type, but ended up redeeming himself in a fairly surprising yet satisfactory manner that could used more nuance but did achieve its major goals. The three women involved, Cordie and Eleanor Perry and her Aunt Kidder, were far more interesting, each with many more levels of complexity than the men and are the true heroes of the tale. My main complaint? Cordie Stumpf has a major problem which is not resolved by the end of the book, and I see that as a missed opportunity.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris Duval

    Enjoy this as you would a grand myth re-telling, except here the myth is--I think--a fabrication from many genuine folk fragments, some added horror of the author's imagination and a narrative glue of his making. This is like much fantasy that evokes myths in a retelling, except here the first iteration must also be told. To allow this the narrative flips back from the original 19th century to the parallel contemporary story. Also like a telling or retelling of a myth, characters are reduced, wh Enjoy this as you would a grand myth re-telling, except here the myth is--I think--a fabrication from many genuine folk fragments, some added horror of the author's imagination and a narrative glue of his making. This is like much fantasy that evokes myths in a retelling, except here the first iteration must also be told. To allow this the narrative flips back from the original 19th century to the parallel contemporary story. Also like a telling or retelling of a myth, characters are reduced, which will displease readers hoping for a character-based novel. I found the key reduced characters quite sufficiently complex for my reading pleasure. The myth he constructed from fragments was of outsider contact and insider reaction, an opposition that echoed that of other juxtaposed natural and supernatural actors. A reader will smile at some of the reminiscences and remarks attributed to the character of Samuel Clemens--they include the oft heard one about sulfur smells and sinners. The 20th century analog is a farce surrounding the sale of a resort. These comic scenes and their characters offset the doings of grotesque monsters; were the latter truly frightening there wouldn't be balance, which is part of the novel's mythic theme.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Orrezz

    so much potential, so much waste. I thought it was going to be a fun trashy novel about demons next to volcanoes in Hawaii, even though the novelist was not other than Dan Simmons, who wrote one of my favourite books (Hyperion). In fact, it takes about 200 pages for the events to kick in, and about 400 for the monsters to appear. Simmons invests so much energy in teaching about mythology and the fictional resort, that the characters just keep wondering without purpose and only face the monsters so much potential, so much waste. I thought it was going to be a fun trashy novel about demons next to volcanoes in Hawaii, even though the novelist was not other than Dan Simmons, who wrote one of my favourite books (Hyperion). In fact, it takes about 200 pages for the events to kick in, and about 400 for the monsters to appear. Simmons invests so much energy in teaching about mythology and the fictional resort, that the characters just keep wondering without purpose and only face the monsters when nobody cares anymore. Also, from a writer like Simmons I was expecting to make a more tolerable villain than Trumbo, a billionaire proven douchebag so many times it is hard to believe he survives this long. I mean, even Dennis Nedry died in the first pages of Jurassic Park

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brock

    So there are some very important highlights from this book - mostly all of them involve Cordie Cooke/Strumpf. She is just amazing in this book and as someone who LOVES Summer of Night, I was so excited to see what she had in store of us w/ this story. She continues to be a badass who will take no shit, she continues to fight for those around her and she continues to be a literary magnet for me. The scene w/ her in the water and the shark - man is sensational. Overall, this book struggles w/ real So there are some very important highlights from this book - mostly all of them involve Cordie Cooke/Strumpf. She is just amazing in this book and as someone who LOVES Summer of Night, I was so excited to see what she had in store of us w/ this story. She continues to be a badass who will take no shit, she continues to fight for those around her and she continues to be a literary magnet for me. The scene w/ her in the water and the shark - man is sensational. Overall, this book struggles w/ really working for me due to the dual nature of the stories. I found the story in the past (w/ Mark Twain?) somewhat difficult to follow along w/. Overall, I loved my time w/ Cordie but just not enough else to make this book really shine.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aaron White

    A fine successor to the first two books in this series (Children of Night, Summer of Night), though almost completely different. The only similarity is one secondary character in Summer of Night who pops up here. Regardless, I liked this book. It took me to a new place (Hawaii), taught me new things (the myths of Hawaii) and carried me along with an excellent plot. Including Mark Twain in the plot was clever, but not that necessary. I enjoyed it nevertheless.

  14. 4 out of 5

    SmarkDent

    Definitely not one of his best novels and to be honest it's more reminiscent of Bentley Little than the usual Simmons output. Imagine 'The Resort' set in Hawaii and you're not a million miles away! Despite the fact that Dan was obviously developing his art in this early novel, it's still entertaining stuff and at times really funny, especially the bits involving Trump/Trumbo. 3 stars is a little generous - it's more a 2.5. Definitely not one of his best novels and to be honest it's more reminiscent of Bentley Little than the usual Simmons output. Imagine 'The Resort' set in Hawaii and you're not a million miles away! Despite the fact that Dan was obviously developing his art in this early novel, it's still entertaining stuff and at times really funny, especially the bits involving Trump/Trumbo. 3 stars is a little generous - it's more a 2.5.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Yolanda Sfetsos

    And another DNF. I just don't find these characters remotely interesting. This is the third Dan Simmons book I've tried reading this morning, and just like the previous two, I lost interest after a few pages. I did push through for several chapters, but the writing style and story didn't grab me. Oh well. It happens. Let's hope I feel different about Carrion Comfort... And another DNF. I just don't find these characters remotely interesting. This is the third Dan Simmons book I've tried reading this morning, and just like the previous two, I lost interest after a few pages. I did push through for several chapters, but the writing style and story didn't grab me. Oh well. It happens. Let's hope I feel different about Carrion Comfort...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cass Galleas

    There are Hawaiian Gods, Mark Twain, rituals, blood, and mysticism. This is an explosive mixture that generates wonderful memories after reading the Fires of Eden. There is beautiful story and unusual thoughts. The imagery of the main characters and villains are well opened in a novel. Have the greatest impression of the God of a shark and a Dog. And now I love Hawaii with their ancient culture and history. After reading this very interesting and unusual works of Dan Simmons, I discovered a lot o There are Hawaiian Gods, Mark Twain, rituals, blood, and mysticism. This is an explosive mixture that generates wonderful memories after reading the Fires of Eden. There is beautiful story and unusual thoughts. The imagery of the main characters and villains are well opened in a novel. Have the greatest impression of the God of a shark and a Dog. And now I love Hawaii with their ancient culture and history. After reading this very interesting and unusual works of Dan Simmons, I discovered a lot of new things. I advise to read this novel to everyone who loves mysticism and intrigues of the Gods.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Adam Gilchrest

    I practically worship Dan Simmons so it’s with great sadness that I give this three stars. The story is engaging and exciting but not very thrilling. The feelings of fear and suspense just weren’t there for me. The end felt very rushed.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andy Spagnol

    There was some fun stuff with mythological beasties, but the characters were either unlikable, not very interesting, or just full of cliches. It was just too long to be really enjoyable for such a bland cast of characters.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marie Winger

    Fun quick read. Not nearly as nuanced as Hyperion. This was a re-read for me to see if I needed to keep it. Nope. Did love the clash of Hawaiian gods and religion with uber capitalist ethos. Main characters are really great people.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gfec

    8/10 as of horror 3 stars, but as funny read and good first 1/3 of book ( background, nature, horror-humour scenes, Japaneses playing golf ) is result 3,75

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

    Thoroughly enjoyed, only didnt give it 5 stars because it wasnt as good as his best books. Recommended for Stephen King fans.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alisha Ferda steele

    Enjoyed the story. Loved seeing character Cordie brought back to life in this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bob Box

    Read in 1995. This novel centers on the history and mythology of Hawaii with some supernaturals overtones.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarath Chandrasekharan

    The books takes you to the tropics to hell and back. As good as the first book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    After finishing this novel, I'm still not 100% sure what I think about it. First off, it takes place in Hawaii, a place I have never been nor do I know all that much about. There is a tremendous amount of Hawaiian mythology in this book and to be honest with you, I have no idea if Simmons made it all up or not. I'll give him credit, if he made it up, it certainly sounds plausible for Hawaiian mythology. Simmons' writing style is high quality, but there are bits and pieces that detract from the b After finishing this novel, I'm still not 100% sure what I think about it. First off, it takes place in Hawaii, a place I have never been nor do I know all that much about. There is a tremendous amount of Hawaiian mythology in this book and to be honest with you, I have no idea if Simmons made it all up or not. I'll give him credit, if he made it up, it certainly sounds plausible for Hawaiian mythology. Simmons' writing style is high quality, but there are bits and pieces that detract from the book as a whole. The one paragraph synopsis is as follows: An enormous resort was built in Hawaii by a real schmuck of a businessman (Trumbo). He's demolished quite a bit of nature to construct the thing and now wants to unload it on a group of Japanese buyers. They all meet at the resort to seal the deal, unfortunately two of the local volcanoes begin erupting and people start disappearing and reappearing in bits at pieces. Trumbo's soon to be ex-wife, soon to be ex-girlfriend, and current fling all show up to make things worse for him. Add in a professor with a diary from her distant relative that seems to follow the same series of events from over a hundred years ago, a plump little housewife from the Midwest with a gun and a foul mouth, and an assorted cast of other guests and you have quite the mix of personalities. The lava starts flowing, business negotiations heat up, and the number of people in the resort dwindles while a select few try to solve the "mystery" by using the diary. First, this book is billed as horror, but other than people disappearing and pieces of them reappearing at in-opportune times, it never really felt like a horror book. So if you are looking for a nail biter, look elsewhere. Second, it becomes very apparent what is going to happen about a chapter before it happens, so there are no surprises. Perhaps I've just over-read the horror genera and have developed a "sixth sense" about horror novels, but nothing in here surprised me, there were no shockers. I would have to say that my biggest complaint with the book is that the "present day" characters are almost ridiculously stereotypical. It almost started to remind me of "Scooby Doo 2" (the live action one). You have the big bad business man, his 3 stereotypical women, the blatantly obvious good guys, your standard plethora of henchmen, and the native people who want to protect their lands. The most interesting parts of the book were the Diary excerpts; unfortunately their placement in the text of the main story left a little to be desired. Not only were the breaks between the two stories at inopportune times, but the diary chapters pretty much told you exactly what would happen in the following "present day" chapter. I was fairly disappointed with that. I know that I have pointed out a lot of negative, but have given the story 4 stars. Simmons is a brilliant writer, his words (even the profanities) flow with beauty and even if you don't like the story, or hate the characters, you can't help but to admire his prose. I don't think this was one of his better books, but I still think it was an excellent book on the whole.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert Beveridge

    Knowing what I know of the writing of Dan Simmons, I expected this to be a science-fiction novel when I picked it up a couple of years ago. I never even read the synopsis, and promptly forgot I owned it. Turns out I was about as far off as i could be. I wouldn't exactly call it fantasy, and I wouldn't exactly call it horror, and I wouldn't exactly call it an environmental novel (though that's probably closest to the truth, with shades of such ecodisaster scenarios Prophecy, the Godzilla movies, Knowing what I know of the writing of Dan Simmons, I expected this to be a science-fiction novel when I picked it up a couple of years ago. I never even read the synopsis, and promptly forgot I owned it. Turns out I was about as far off as i could be. I wouldn't exactly call it fantasy, and I wouldn't exactly call it horror, and I wouldn't exactly call it an environmental novel (though that's probably closest to the truth, with shades of such ecodisaster scenarios Prophecy, the Godzilla movies, and suchlike running through it). It has aspects of all of them, but never turns into a full-blown anything, preferring to defy categorization like many of Simmons' best books do. Byron Trumbo is a billionaire with an attitude, a pending divorce, two young lovers who don't know about each other, and a money-pit Hawaiian resort he's trying to palm off on a group of Japanese investors who want to make it into a golf club. The problem is, people keep disappearing at Mauna Pele, and pieces of them turn up at the worst possible times. Add to this two intrepid adventurers who have come to Mauna Pele for different reasons (spoilers, again...) and who band together to try and solve the murders, an overly curious treehugger art curator who was hired after threatening to sue Trumbo for bulldozing over duck ponds, a crazed, murderous Hawaiian separatist, and a dimwitted pair of security guards, and the scene is set for a rollicking good time. All of the major characters are well-done and believable, if a little over the top sometimes (while I'm not usually one to balk at such things, the seemingly constant use of profanity in the book threw me for a loop; I could have done with less of it). Add cuts where we read sections of the main character's great-great-aunt's diary; the main character, Eleanor, is following in her aunt's footsteps, recreating a journey Aunt Kidder took with Samuel Clemens to the volcanoes on the Big Island (back when Americans knew Hawaii as the Sandwich Islands). This was one of the conceits that annoyed me in the book, and it wouldn't have annoyed me if it hadn't been done so many times: we find ourselves at a cliffhanger and the diary narration takes over again. The first time, I liked it. The second time, I liked it. The third time, I liked it a little less. And so on. However, that was the only real mark against the novel, and I have to say it certainly held my interest up to the very last page. Definitely worth looking out for.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    Dan Simmons is a good writer. However, that is only hinted at in Fires of Eden. The story started well, but I found it growing growing increasingly tiresome as the pages wore on. The villain was cartoonishly greedy and vulgar. Another primary protagonist was barely more believable. And Simmons attempts mixing horror and farce with the result being neither scary nor funny. I like Dan Simmons because many of his books betray deep historical and literary research on his part (e. g. the Franklin Exp Dan Simmons is a good writer. However, that is only hinted at in Fires of Eden. The story started well, but I found it growing growing increasingly tiresome as the pages wore on. The villain was cartoonishly greedy and vulgar. Another primary protagonist was barely more believable. And Simmons attempts mixing horror and farce with the result being neither scary nor funny. I like Dan Simmons because many of his books betray deep historical and literary research on his part (e. g. the Franklin Expedition in The Terror, Greek mythology in Olympos, Charles Dickens in Drood). The research behind this novel involved Hawaiian mythology, but the writing accompanying it sometimes seems so pulpish that I was tempted to think in spots that Simmons had only done the book as a toss-off to justify his research trips to Hawaii as a tax write-off. (Glaring example of sloppy writing: in one instance a security man asks whether he should consult with the local police and "Five-O." Doesn't Simmons know there is no such thing as "Five-O" except in a television show? The security guy might as well ask whether he should send for Magnum P. I.) Having spent some time on the Big Island of Hawaii myself, I enjoyed Fires of Eden inasmuch as it made me nostalgic for my sojourn there. Simmons describes the setting well. But unless one wants to engage in similar nostalgia, I can't really recommend the book to anyone else.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Phil Zimmerman

    This book has been sitting on my shelf for around 20 years. I finally picked it up and can't say I was terribly pleased. Simmons always does tons of research for his books. Sometimes the end result is too much detail and too little plot. That would be the issue here. The other problem is that what little plot there is is not very good. This novel is the story of two women that go to an exclusive resort in Hawaii and become fast friends. The villian, the resort owner, is trying to sell the place. W This book has been sitting on my shelf for around 20 years. I finally picked it up and can't say I was terribly pleased. Simmons always does tons of research for his books. Sometimes the end result is too much detail and too little plot. That would be the issue here. The other problem is that what little plot there is is not very good. This novel is the story of two women that go to an exclusive resort in Hawaii and become fast friends. The villian, the resort owner, is trying to sell the place. While all of this is happening two volcanoes are threatening the whole island with magma. There are moments of enjoyment, but they are ruined by frequent story shifts. The novel is divided between the story of the girls, the story of the owner, and diary entries. This style frequently leaves you pissed that the good plot is being left for a shitty one. Final complaint, this novel literally "jumps the shark". There is a scene involved a women who can't swin who saves a boy from a shark. So many illogical things happen in 3 pages that it drove me nuts. Simmons has done way better.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tim Meechan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book had been sitting on my shelf for some time. The last Simmons novel I read was "Ilium", and prior to that, the "Hyperion" series, so this was quite a departure. I liked his character introductions and the setting of the scene in Hawaii. I was even intrigued when the first encounters with, what were, almost indescribable beings and events, began to happen. It was very suspenseful and well paced at that point. I love a good scientific mystery and so I'm stoked and prepared for almost anyth This book had been sitting on my shelf for some time. The last Simmons novel I read was "Ilium", and prior to that, the "Hyperion" series, so this was quite a departure. I liked his character introductions and the setting of the scene in Hawaii. I was even intrigued when the first encounters with, what were, almost indescribable beings and events, began to happen. It was very suspenseful and well paced at that point. I love a good scientific mystery and so I'm stoked and prepared for almost anything....BUT....Hawaiian folklore? What? Well it may have worked with some of you readers but it didn't with me. I was a bit disappointed. Ironically, I'm writing this review many months later, after having read "The Terror", also by Simmons, in which he seems to have revisited this idea of mixing in some folklore/supernatural within the plot narrative. He really figured it out the second time, just not so much here. Still love your stuff Mr. Simmons, but can only give this a half hearted recommendation.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    This Hawaiian adventure was one of the better spin-offs from Summer of Night. Though Cordie Cooke's description borders on the outright grotesque, she remained just as likable - if not more so - than in her first appearance. There is just something bluntly charming about her. I liked the way Simmons intertwined the historical aspect of Mark Twain's visit to Hawaii through Aunt Kidder's journal entries. Full of excitement, and even with a cameo appearance by Mike O'Rourke, I had a lot of fun read This Hawaiian adventure was one of the better spin-offs from Summer of Night. Though Cordie Cooke's description borders on the outright grotesque, she remained just as likable - if not more so - than in her first appearance. There is just something bluntly charming about her. I liked the way Simmons intertwined the historical aspect of Mark Twain's visit to Hawaii through Aunt Kidder's journal entries. Full of excitement, and even with a cameo appearance by Mike O'Rourke, I had a lot of fun reading this. Basing everything off Hawaiian mythology made it even more unique and giant pigs, sharks and volcano eruptions aside, makes me want to go back there! A fun and summery adventure, and a welcome addition to Simmons' versatile bibliography. Simmons is very talented, but he really shines with the historical sections.Summer of Night

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