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The book tells the story of a past criminal called Priest, who establishes a commune in California living there with other individuals for more than twenty years. The commune is self-sustaining (vineyards) set in a peaceful valley and virtually not on the radar of Government (or the general public) - until Priest learns of Government plans to utilise most of the valley in the construction of a power dam. Priest together with Star (his somewhat eccentric female partner), and Melanie (a new addition to the commune) formulate a plan to steal a seismic vibrator (used in oil field exploration) in order to create an earthquake - and use this threat against Government so that the plans for the valley can be stopped. A young FBI agent, Judy Maddox, is assigned to investigate the source of the threats received by Government. The story's pretext, for me, moved from the no-way-definitely-implausible to a somewhat believable scenario created by Follett. The story is so neatly written that with Priest's first successful test of the vibrator to generate a mini-earthquake and the results seemed not far removed from reality. For the majority of the book, my sympathy actually stayed with Priest in his attempts to prevent the destruction of a way of life that he firmly believed in. The book is a nice easy read, with a good deal of suspense and ultimately gives a lot of thought to the value of the priorities held by each of the characters.
Terrorists working to stop the building of a power plant threaten to trigger an earthquake on California's coast line. An FBI expert warns that the individual behind the threat is sane, capable and serious. If he causes the earthquake millions of lives will be at risk.