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"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
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Nighttime 1748. Hawai‘i Island (the Big Island), North Kohala...
A child is born in a grass house. Outside, a raging storm muffles his first cries. Soldiers are hunting for him. Their king has ordered his death because a priest has prophesied that the infant will become a “slayer of chiefs.” But he is spirited away to a remote valley before the soldiers can find him. He will become Hawaii’s greatest warrior.
When strange, pale visitors come from beyond the horizon, and other Hawaiians mistake their leader for one of their gods—returned to them in fulfillment of a prophecy—he’ll recognize these newcomers as men. He’ll use their guns and steel to defeat a succession of rivals for rule of the Big Island, and then the rest of the island chain, ending centuries of fratricidal warfare, and founding the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Today, Hawaiians remember him as Kamehameha the Great. This is his story—the story of Hawaii James Michener never told.
"Overall, this novel should gratify historians and general readers alike....A thoughtful, well-written work that breathes new life into past personalities and events."
An "eye-opening chronicle of the Hawaiian kingdom."
Photos by Stephen Shender
"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
Hawaii State Public Library System
"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