Orbit, Jan 5 2011, $14.99
Gignomai met'Oc and his family reside in exile overlooking a poor colony of silver miner descendants whose ancestors had no silver to mine. The colonists detest their protectors but rely on them for safety from the dangerous indigenous population. The youngest son, Gignomai struggles with no reason for living until he breaks protocol from the family when he flees into the dangerous wilderness.
He plans to build a factory that will compete with a monopoly that has left the remote colonists wallowing in poverty. His long term outcome is to provide the colonists with independence that they sorely lack while he receives closure from a tragedy he witnessed as a child that still haunts him. However, his best laid plan goes astray when the peasants he wants to liberate seem too timid to act without his leading the charge.
This is an intriguing thriller in which K.J. Parker explores consequences of good intentions seven decades ago and once again good intentions now. The story line is character driven mostly by rebellious Gignomai, who wants to improve the lifestyle of the colonists, but will soon learn that results are not often what one expected when intervening. Fast-paced, The Hammer is a terrific thriller that will have readers pondering so called presidential legacies from the advantage of looking back in time. For instance, arming Hussein may have made sense in the 1980s, but the results one and two decades later overwhelm the original short term expectations. Exciting and thought provoking, this is a winner.