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 "The descriptions of phenomenal storytellers, feast makers, drinking contests, blood bonds, sacrifices of prisoners, polygamous relationships, remarkable physical prowess in sport and war, military strategies that guarantee success or failure, and so much more fill these pages into what one can only call a mesmerizing saga."

Historical Novel Society

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  • Hanohano ka uka o Pilanakalani1:47

His people would remember him as “the Conqueror.”


Cut off from the outside world, the Hawaiians lived in a paradise on earth and fought over it for generations. When strange, pale visitors came from beyond the horizon, they mistook their tall ships for “floating islands” and their leader for one of their gods—returned to them in fulfillment of a prophecy. One man, Kamehameha, was quick to understand that these newcomers were men. He would use their guns and steel to end centuries of fratricidal warfare and forge a new kingdom at the crossroads of the Pacific Ocean.

Borrow Once There Was Fire from your public library*

* If your local library doesn't have it, ask for it.

Hawaii State Public Library System

Pai'ea Press

"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

Photos by Stephen Shender

U.S. Mainland Public Libraries

Where to buy Once There Was Fire

"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 story of old Hawaii Michener never told

"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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