Patrick F. Rooney's Blog

November 5, 2016

Netflix's production of The Crown is extraordinary.

Every once in a while a television series comes along that seizes your imagination by the throat and won't let go. Seeing Downton Abbey was that way for me. I will put The Tudors and Breaking Bad in that category as well. I must now add The Crown to the list of stories that keep me enraptured episode after episode late into the night.

The writing, acting, costumes, and scenery are exceptional. And the show is enlightening. As an American, I've never really understood or appreciated the value (or even the reason) that Britain maintains the monarchy. Watching this show, which humanizes the royal family, faults and all, demonstrates how the Crown emboldens and permeates the moral fiber of the British temperament. Revealing the scandals, rivalries, and interpersonal struggles members of the royal family have - mostly related to "love" - makes them seem real, more like ordinary people, except that they were born into an extraordinary, public role, where impropriety must be avoided at all costs to maintain the decorum imposed upon them by the people as well as Parliament.

As with every good series, casting is of paramount importance. The superb acting of Claire Foy in her role as Queen Elizabeth II is marvellous to watch. Her subdued facial expressions, eye movements, and general demeanour speak volumes, far beyond what ordinary words could do, giving her a power and presence that is admirable and engaging. John Lithgow's acerbic portrayal of Winston Churchill is riveting, revealing the genius and craftiness of one of the world's most important politicians, as he collaboratively guides the Crown from behind the scenes while maintaining a contentious control of Parliament.

Overall, I believe this is one of the finest television series ever produced. I can't give enough praise to Peter Morgan's mesmerising script writing. I highly recommend the show to anyone interested in history, politics, and the travails of love while constantly living under a microscope.
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Published on November 05, 2016 11:12 Tags: britain, british-royal-family, churchill, peter-morgan-history, the-crown, the-queen

September 25, 2016

Wallander Season 4 Debut Episode is Marvellous

I just had the chance to watch the first episode of season 4 of the Swedish/BBC television series known as Wallander on Netflix last night. The episode, entitled, The White Lioness, was filmed entirely in South Africa.

It was a treat to see the beautiful and diverse scenery of this country that I know so little about, as well as to gain insights into the on-going poverty and cultural struggles the people are dealing with long after the reign of Mandella. This was a compelling backdrop as the thrilling story line unfolded.

Wallander, a British television series adapted from the Swedish novelist Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander novels, stars Kenneth Branagh, who plays the role of a brooding, solitary police inspector who is increasingly appalled and emotionally drained by the violence he witnesses in his job, even after 40 years of service. I love the Wallander character, and this episode is truly not to be missed. The cinematography was magnificent. Highly recommended.
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Published on September 25, 2016 11:42 Tags: henning-mankell, kenneth-branagh, police-drama, south-africa, wallander

November 27, 2015

Writing my next book

I am finally tackling the sequel to my first book: The Acheron Deception.
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Published on November 27, 2015 14:48

July 21, 2015

The Angel of Innisfree - just released

The setting for my novel, The Angel of Innisfree, is in an area of northwest Ireland where my father grew up (near Sligo). The mysterious castles, demolished churches and ruined Creevelea Abbey I saw when we visited there as a child have haunted me for years. Crafting a story in this beautiful setting gave me an excuse to do further research into the history of Ireland during the time of the Great Hunger. I spent a week in a bed-and-breakfast overlooking Lough Gill while I was outlining my novel. The tiny island of Innisfree was visible outside my window. I highly recommend a stay there if you have a chance.

I dove deep into the history of Five Points in New York as well as the U.S. Civil War for the last two-thirds of the book. I lived in Northern Virginia for several years, and had visited many of the battlefields. Writing a book gave me an excuse to do further research, especially into the role the many Irish that died during the skirmishes played in the Confederate as well as the Union armies.

As in my first book, The Acheron Deception, the main character (Brian O'Rourke) is an engineer, or what would have probably been considered an engineer in the mid-nineteenth century. The early history of the telegraph industry provides a framework for his career as well as the plot of the story. The other main character, Elizabeth Reilly, is an accomplished concert pianist. I nurtured my passion for "romantic" music by having her study with Chopin in Paris during a very vibrant time in history, when artists and musicians were flocking to the city to make a living strictly on their own merits, without the support of the church.

I hope you enjoy reading about this interesting time in history as much as I did while I did the background research for the story. Please leave a review if you can.
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Published on July 21, 2015 06:17 Tags: chopin, civil-war, famine-ships, five-points, ireland, new-york, queen-victoria, telegraph