*I received a free copy of this novel, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: No longer content to rumble in anger, the great mountain warriors of New Zealand’s central plateau, the Kāhui Tupua, are preparing again for battle. At least, that’s how the Māori elders tell it. The nation’s leaders scoff at the danger. That is; until the ground opens and all hell breaks loose. The armed forces are hastily deployed; NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna and his section tasked with evacuating civilians and tourists from Tongariro National Park. It is too little, too late. With earthquakes coming thick and fast and the mountains spewing rock and ash, McKenna and his men are cut off. Their only hope of rescuing the stranded civilians is to find another route out, but a busload of prison evacuees has other ideas. And, deep beneath the earth’s crust, other forces are stirring.
Some familiar faces return in Into the Ashes; as well as Taine (obviously) we have Jules, Pringle, Read, Hine, Eriksen, Lefty and Temera, all on different but converging paths that lead them straight into an imminent natural disaster.
As with previous books, Taine and Temera gradually come to the realisation that the disaster they are facing may not be entirely natural after all, but by then Taine and co have already crossed paths (and gunfire) with a gang of convicts who are set on creating some manmade chaos as they attempt to escape the mountainous rumbles and the law.
Packed full of military action and tense cliffhanger situations, Lee Murray has produced another action thriller that belongs firmly on the big screen as well as the page, and yet again she threads the violence and explosions with some Māori mythology and spirituality to create a riveting blend of the old and new, natural and supernatural.
Definitely one for fans of action movies rooted in local (New Zealand) landscapes and traditions.
Higher up in the mountain, rocks clattered. Clague froze. Another quake? But the ground was still. Hairs lifted on the back of his neck.
Through the drifts of ash, a figure was climbing the mountain. A warrior? It looked that way: Clague spied flashes of muscled skin glistening with sweat. And was that a patu-club he was carrying? What the hell was he doing up here, dressed in a piu piu as if he was part of a tribal war party?
The man kept climbing.
“Hey, you can’t go up there! It’s too dangerous. There’s a state of emergency…”
If the warrior had heard him, he didn’t show any sign of it, striding up the mountain to the summit.
– Lee Murray, Into the Ashes