As word spreads about Mauna Kea: A Novel of Hawaiʻi, positive reviews and endorsements of the book are coming in, including from Native Hawaiians and other islanders, scholars, and young, avid book reviewers on Instagram. The novel continues to receive enthusiastic receptions at our book launch events, book clubs are reading it, and I’ve now been invited to speak to the Big Island Press Club at their “Newsmaker luncheon” in April.

The Kona Stories Fiction Book Club shared their compliments and other reactions to ‘Mauna Kea” in a wide-ranging, two-hour discussion with Tom on January 16. Photo by Catherine Robbins

Here’s a sample of what reviewers, scholars, and other readers are saying about the the book.

Readers and reviewers love the novel!

“Compelling,” “authentic,” “beautifully written,” “a page-turner,” “eye-opening,” “well researched,” “a pleasure to read,” “a hopeful book.”

A full list of excerpts from book reviews and other endorsement quotes is available on the praise page for the novel, but I thought you might enjoy seeing a sample of some of what these folks are saying.

“A compelling, entertaining story that encompasses ancient Hawaiian concepts and American thought patterns. The authentic characters are perfect. It’s a Hawaiian cultural primer, a gift that lifts the spirits high! ʻIolanaʻoe! (You soar like a hawk!)”

Kaluna West, Native Hawaiian artist, educator, and former Kahoʻolawe activist

Kaluna West

Susan Najita

“In the world we live in, one in which social struggle is our only hope for a new world, Peek’s novel provides a timely and new vision about what is at stake in the struggle: nothing less than how to sustain relationships across and in spite of the kinds of differences too often used to justify all manner of violence through colonization. Peek’s novel traces the ebb and flow of reciprocal relations that are at the heart of Hawaiian culture, illuminating the cultural practice of “kapu aloha” that the Mauna Kea protectors brought to world consciousness, and that has spoken at a profound level to people across the globe.

Susan Najita, University of Michigan Associate Professor of Literature and Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies

If youʻre interested in Native Hawaiian culture, or in the community politics of Hawaiʻi,  or in deep-universe astronomy, you should read this book. You likewise may wish to read it if you followed the epic 2019 protest in which an improvised village of mostly Native Hawaiians blocked construction of one of the worldʻs largest telescopes on Hawai`i Island . . . Author Tom Peek is an insider to this story. He has stepped back to give us a novelistʻs view from high in the heavens of what the next protest might look like. He hooks you on his multiple characters, who variously collude and collide, as people have and will continue to do so in real life over this sacred mountain. 

Tom Coffman, writer/director of the film Mauna Kea, Sacred Conduct/Sacred Mountain and author of Nation Within: The History of the American Occupation of Hawaiʻi

Tom Coffman

Moses Kealamakia

“This is fiction based on fact, about different people’s lives and how the mountain influences them. The authenticity of the tensions in Hawaiʻi—the range from rage to aloha—is spot on. It’s a story that needs to be told.”  

Moses Kealamakia, Native Hawaiian artist with ancient family ties to Mauna Kea

Reading ‘Mauna Kea: A Novel of Hawai‘i,’ I’m reminded of levels of feeling and intuition and relationships I know and treasure from my times there. ‘Mauna Kea’ has authority on every page. I admire very much about all of it, but perhaps especially the way Tom Peek shows the simultaneity of past and present on the mountain, and by implication in all of Hawaiian history. It is both so true and so hard to do believably—and yet he does it.

– Elinor Langer, author of THE NATION Special Issue on Hawaiian History, “’Famous Are the Flowers’: Hawaiian Resistance Then—and Now” (https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/famous-are-flowers-hawaiian-resistance-then-and-now/)

Having been born and raised in Hawaiʻi . . . I enjoyed reading about how one man comes to learn the true meaning of Hawaiʻi and the gods that we, Native Hawaiians, revere based on our culture. Through the man’s growth and his learning about the meaning of aloha, a true understanding and appreciation of faith (in all aspects) has developed.

– Barb Jones, The Blood Prophecy Reviews

“Majestic, deep, compelling . . . a feat of high literary skill and imagination. . . . [Peek’s] love for both the Hawaiian people and their land (‘aina) is as pervasive as it is palpable. I expect it to cement his place as a fine chronicler of the archipelago and culture he loves so much. A great read, well-written, compelling, Mauna Kea is a sword cut performed by a master, both fast and deep at the same time. I highly recommend it.”

Monk Yun Rou (Arthur Rosenfeld), author of numerous Taoist books, including Nautilus Award winner Mad Monk Manifesto: A Prescription for Evolution, Revolution, and Global Awakening, The Jade Boy, and The Monk of Park Avenue

Monk Yun Rou

Nelson Ho

 “An authentic, eye-opening novel that lifts the veil on the ancient traditions and modern political intrigues that underlie the longstanding controversy over telescopes on Mauna Kea.”

Nelson Ho, longtime Sierra Club and Mauna Kea activist

“As someone who has never been to Hawaii and knows little to nothing about its history and culture, this was magnificent. Peek’s writing style is so detailed and fluid that I was immediately immersed in the story . . . it’s got action and adventure, Hawaiian mythology, history, and culture, real-life political aspects, a character on an inadvertent journey to find himself, and so much more. The 12 illustrations included in this are beautiful and . . . there’s an incredible map in the beginning that shows the summit area of Mauna Kea . . . This book was incredible and I would gladly recommend it.”

Manuela Soares, Fathoms Amidst the Lines Reviews

Manuela Soares

I really enjoyed reading this book as it taught me more about how sacred Mauna Kea is and just how respectful one should be here and in every sacred space. I loved Auntie Moana so much! I can really appreciate that this author, who is not a Native Hawaiian, took the time to learn from the locals . . .

— So Glad to Read You Book Reviews ( https://www.instagram.com/sogladtoreadyou/)

I loved this book about Hawaii and Big Island . . . I was pleased to also see the illustrations which add an element of greatness to the story . . . the realism is very good for readers who have traveled there and also for those like myself, who have never been there. I highly recommend this one . . . READ the book!

— Country Mama with Kids Book Reviews (https://countrymamaswithkids.com/book-reviews-and-tours)

Michael Osmera, PhD

“In this age of countless battles, whether over indigenous resources in the Americas or territory in Ukraine, here’s a novel that offers a deeper way to think about conflict, a hopeful book sorely needed in these often-disheartening times.”

Michael Osmera PhD, Retired cultural anthropologist from Linfield University in Oregon

“This novel has captured the essence of aloha. It is a book destined for the annals of Hawaiʻi literature.”

Dr. John Dvorak, critically acclaimed author of How the Mountains Grew, Mask of the Sun, and The Last Volcano

John Dvorak

Jaime Jacinto

“Tom Peek is an organic intellectual in the tradition of Mark Twain.”

Poet Jaime Jacinto, author of Heaven Is Just Another Country

‘This novel is medicine for the world.’

Arnie Kotler, editor of Thich Nhat Hanh’s ‘Peace Is Every Step’

Arnie Kotler