|The Adventures of Hammer Spade-Book Four|
Xerxes, King of ancient Persia, gave a gold ring with mysterious qualities to his new Jewish Queen, Esther. It has been stolen from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Paperback-224 pages-$15.00 plus shipping
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Also available in the UK through Bertram Books
It is an ordinary looking wide womanís wedding band in yellow gold. It has a few handling scratches. It has not been mistreated or damaged. The metallurgy is original. It is very old and has an ancient Babylonian cuneiform inscription.
On their wedding night ancient Babylonian King Xerxes presented this ring to his new Jewish Queen, Esther. It supposedly had special properties that would cause it to shine when the woman wearing it felt true love. He put it on Estherís left ring finger but it didnít change color like he had expected. Esther made fun of him saying that it was just another example of gentile superstition.
The Inscription on the Ring
Sumerian: (Phonetic) kum nam ki aga ke ma ab mul
English: The warmth of thy love makes me glow.
Sumerian: he em lao ki ag za ba zu
English: Wear me and thy lover will know.
This is book four in the Hammer Spade Series. Book one, Hammer Spade and the Case of the Missing Husband; book two, Hammer Spade and the Diamond Smugglers and book three, Hammer Spade and the Merchants of Death. Books five through eight are also available. Their titles are, Hammer Spade and the Midnight Treader, Hammer Spade and the Long Shooter, and Hammer Spade and the Four Horsemen, volumes one and two and the last in the series, Hammer Spade and the Final Quest
The Ring of Fire is the story of a 2490-year-old wedding ring. Except for the ancient Babylonian inscriptions, it was an ordinary gold wedding band. What made it special was its history. It was the ring given by Persian King Xerxes to his new Queen, the Biblical Esther, on their wedding night. This ring was said to have special, magical qualities. In 1723 an Ottoman General presented it to Russian Czar, Peter the Great and it ended up in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was a minor item in the great history of Russia. Then, one day not long ago, the museum suffered a power failure and in the time between the lights went out until the emergency lights came on, the ring was stolen. The Russians sought assistance from an American investigator named Hammer Spade. But this case was to prove a most difficult challenge for Hammer, Jack Kane, Dave Quigley, and a new team member, Rachel Clark. Locating and recovering the Ring of Fire would test their ingenuity to the fullest as they traveled, first to Russia, then to Greece, Istanbul, Rome, Somalia, Damascus and Kuwait.
Hammer Spade and the Ring of Fire
Reviewed by Rina Hutchinson
I have devoured many books over the years and, up until recently; mystery novels have not been a part of my diet. Hammer Spade and the Ring of Fire, by E. B. Alston, was my first voyage into the crime solving world and it was not disappointing. The characters, history and locations kept me intrigued, as well as the twists and turns in the plot.
The group of characters, which the reader is introduced to throughout the novel, is well rounded and intriguing with personalities that compliment each other and the mission. Through the dialogue that is exchanged among them the reader develops a clear view of each character. All of the main characters are interesting studies but the most surprising character is Rachel, a housewife who takes on a completely different personality once the mission is underway. Rachel steals the spotlight.
The history behind the ring is fascinating and whether the rings mysterious power works or not is also discovered, which satisfied my curiosity as a reader. Also, the history surrounding the many places the team must travel, and the historical figures who had visited before adds to the air of believability and made me feel as though I had stepped back in time with Hammer and his group.
The journey that takes place to locate a seemingly simple ring will keep any reader riveted, wanting to continue the journey and see it to its end. It has given me a new appreciation for a genre I had not encountered before but will continue to discover for many years.
Hammer Spade and the Ring of Fire
Reviewed by Judy Jacobs
You have never read a detective story like this one. It is an adventure of the mind, the spirit, and there are action scenes exciting enough for anybodyís taste.
How does one go about finding a needle in a haystack? This is, in effect, the task set forth for Hammer Spade in this novel. A wedding ring has disappeared out of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. There is no apparent motive and no known suspects. For assistance in finding and recovering the ring, the Russians have turned to Hammer Spade, a private investigator from North Carolina who is gaining in international recognition.
In their quest for the missing ring, Hammer and his team are required to think creatively. They pay a huge price to a most unusual consulting source in Greece and then find themselves solving extraordinary clues couched in rhyme. Jack Kane and Dave Quigley accidentally drop in on a sheik's harem in Somalia and in a banquet in his tent, as guests of honor, they are offered a local delicacy consisting of sheep's eyes. Performing some devious sleight of hand tricks is how they dealt with a treacherous lecher in Kuwait who had gained possession of the ring. Their last hurdle convincing the Russians they had located and returned the correct ring. In a surprising fashion, Alonia comes to Hammer's aid.
This is the fourth time we have met Hammer Spade. In his previous appearances, his marksman skills were at the forefront. This novel played up his intellect and logic skills. He and his crew are quick-witted, well-read, great conversationalists and they make some very shrewd observations about human nature in the performance of their tasks.
Alston has the habit of bringing some of his more memorable characters from other books into his stories. This time he chose Rachel Clark from his romantic comedy, The Deal of a Lifetime. She certainly adds grace and wit to this one, and without her clever mind Hammer would not have recovered the ring.
This is the fourth of an eight-book series and the characters are so well developed and appealing that you can't wait to read the next one..
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November 25, 2007