Big Island author and writing teacher Tom Peek writes about the turmoil of today’s Hawaii in his debut novel “Daughters of Fire,” a tale of romance, intrigue, myth and murder set amid the cultural tensions of America’s 50th state.
Novelist and TV personality Arthur Rosenfeld describes “Daughters of Fire” as “a page-turning thriller on the surface, a deep meditation on culture one level down, a spiritual tour de force at the core.”
Peek is best known locally for his popular “Empowered by the Pen” workshops which he’s taught since 1991 through the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Volcano Art Center and other venues on the Big Island, Maui and Lanai. He’s also written newspaper commentaries for the Honolulu dailies and Big Island and mainland newspapers. More than a decade in its research and writing, Peek’s mystical and provocative tale picks up Hawaii’s story where James Michener left off. “Daughters of Fire” illuminates how the islands transformed into a tourist mecca and developers’ gold mine sparked a Native Hawaiian movement to reclaim their culture, protect sacred land, and step into the future with wisdom and aloha.
A visiting astronomer falls in love with a Hawaiian anthropologist who guides him into a Polynesian world of volcanoes, gods and revered ancestors. The lovers get caught up in murder and intrigue as developers and politicians try to conceal that a long-dormant volcano is rumbling back to life above the hotel-laden Kona coast. The anthropologist joins forces with an aging seer and a young activist, and these three Hawaiian women summon their deepest traditions to confront Hawaii’s latest, most extravagant resort as the eruption and the murder expose deep rifts in paradise.
For more information, visit www.DaughtersofFire.com.
Nelson Ho, past chair of Sierra Club’s Hawaii chapter, calls the novel “a sweeping tour of Hawaii, honestly portraying islanders of all hues and voices, written by an author who took the time to listen and observe.” Misty Lynn-Sanico, reviewer for the Hawaii Book Blog at www.hawaiireads.com calls Daughters of Fire “an epic tale” and “a reminder that we need to be stewards of the land, sea and culture to maintain our traditions and remember our oli (chants).”
Peek lived his early life in Minnesota on a backwaters island in the upper Mississippi. After vagabonding by boat through the South Seas, he settled on the island of Hawaii, where he’s lived for more than two decades. He’s been a mountain and astronomy guide on Mauna Kea and an eruption ranger, wildland firefighter, and exhibit writer on Kilauea, working closely with Hawaiian elders and cultural practitioners on both volcanoes. These adventures provided Peek with the material for his Big Island novel.
“Fiction is a potent way to illuminate a place and a people,” said Arnie Kotler, Koa Books’ publisher and editor. “Tom’s novel does this with uncanny authenticity.” Kotler established Koa Books on Maui in 2005, bringing with him two decades of publishing experience as editor and publisher of Parallax Press in Berkeley, Calif.
Daughters of Fire is available in bookstores throughout Hawaii and the U.S., in Costco stores statewide, and on Amazon and other online retailers.