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"What makes this historical novel impressive is its author's feel for his epic subject matter, and his ability to tell the story so lyrically, with a Hawaiian lilt to the language...this page turner vividly paints a way of life worlds apart from the one we now know on Hawaii's shores."
Rick Chatenever, Maui News

"Overall, this novel should gratify historians and general readers alike....A thoughtful, well-written work that breathes new life into past personalities and events."
Kirkus Reviews

This is the epic novel of old Hawaii Michener never wrote

"Skillfully written and consistently entertaining, Once There Was Fire is an extraordinary work of literature, a compelling read from beginning to end, and unreservedly recommended, especially for community library collections."

​Midwest Book Review

Pai'ea Press - Hawaii, Fiction

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"Shender does a wonderful job of bringing the rich and complicated history of Hawaii to the reader in the simplest, eloquent and most splendid way. The descriptions of the scenery and the imagery were so real that you could almost taste the salt of the ocean."
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  • Hanohano ka uka o Pilanakalani1:47

​​​The Hawaiian people lived in an isolated Eden and fought over it for centuries. When pale strangers with ‘pointed heads’, strange ‘skins’, and magical weapons came from beyond the horizon on ‘floating islands’, the Hawaiians thought they were gods. One man understood these ‘gods’ were men, and that their arrival had changed everything for his people. He would go on to defeat his rivals, unite the Hawaiian Islands, and found a new kingdom at the crossroads of the Pacific Ocean. His name was Kamehameha.

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