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The Prodigal

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  162 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Pride, betrayal, forgiveness . . . and the eternal sea. The Prodigal tells the mystical tale of four people on Ocracoke Island whose destiny is tied to an abandoned schooner, thought to have been lost at sea more than a century ago, that one day drifts ashore. Marcus O’Reilly, a renegade Catholic priest, must confront his inner demons. Ibrahim Joseph, a Bahamian fugitive, ...more
Paperback, 358 pages
Published June 1st 2013 by Ragbagger Press (first published May 28th 2013)
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Diane S ☔
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 review soon.
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, well written, spiritual with romance, and mystery. All worked for me. The story starts with the disappearance of a stolen ship in 1851. The story then jumps ahead to present time where we meet Aiden Sharpe, a talented partner whose life will take a sudden disastrous turn. Add a beautiful naked woman, a renegade Catholic priest, a fugitive, a woman towboat operator, and you have a provoking tale of redemption and courage. All of the characters are well developed and the story flows sea ...more
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2014, 30authors
What do an alcoholic priest, a towboat operator, a disgraced lawyer, and a mysterious woman have in common? In The Prodigal by Michael Hurley, the answer is Ocracoke Island. Telling the story of four people trying to come to terms with their inner demons, The Prodigal offers a stunning portrait of human vulnerabilities.

This book is two really two stories in one, though they blend together seamlessly and come full-circle in the end. The first is about redemption and overcoming past mistakes, for
So, I Read This Book Today
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fairy tale, sea tales, contempory, romance
Recommended to So, I Read This Book Today by: Author
“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”
― Homer, The Iliad

“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek


Michael Hurley’s astoundingly good novel, The Prodigal was chosen as a finalist along with four other novels by reviewers for the 2013
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Prodigal, by Michael Hurley, is essentially a story of finding peace and refuge despite the challenges of life. In this story, the refuge happens to be Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Aiden, the main character in this novel, says the place is a "sheltered harbor" in a "time of storms in his life," and this sentiment represents the feelings of the other characters as well. Each character has their own struggles but they all find common ground in the island they come to c ...more
Elizabeth Towns
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In what seems like a few brief moments, Aidan Sharpe watches his life and then his law career implode and he has no clue as to why. Why is his life unraveling? Why is it that his only real ally left after he tanks an important case by making a junior-attorney move and getting caught, has sent him to Ocracoke Island and Father Marcus?
An old legend and a historical prophecy are about to bring answers to all of Aidan Hurley’s questions; and give him the real destiny for which he’s been searching –
Michelle Garrett
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I experienced just about every emotion imaginable reading this novel! I can honestly say that the plot that unfolded was nowhere near the story-line I expected when I began reading this novel. I was quickly drawn in and engrossed within the lives of the characters in this story.

The biggest take away for me from this book was that no matter who we are and where we are in our lives' journey - we still have room to grow and can often learn from the most unexpected people in our lives. I love the ho
Chris Walter
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The magic of Ocracoke Island is the perfect setting for this story. Sophisticated and moving...i cheered for the crew of The Prodigal. Bought the book at The Buxton Bookstore in Hatteras Island. When I asked the owner if it was a "good read" she just smiled. Now i know what that smile meant.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as a Goodread Giveaway. At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about this book, but as I continued to read, I really enjoyed it. The cast of Character are - An alcoholic priest, a beautiful naked woman, a disbarred attorney, a female tow boat captain and an illegal alien accused of murder. The story is set on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
As the story comes together and you find out the truth behind each person, you realized that is a story of redemption as each of them has to
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Literary fiction that is exciting, satisfyingly eloquent and a delight to read. The book starts quite gradually drawing the reader further and further into the plot. Adrian Sharpe is a Lawyer who is extremely successful, charming his way up the legal ladder. He rarely loses a case and is the top Lawyer in one of the top firms in Raleigh. His personal life has fallen apart with a divorce and a drinking problem that is rapidly getting out of hand. The story begins with Adrian and two of his fellow ...more
Nina Ivanova
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was a bit hard to review for me, because I kept having ups and downs in my opinon.

The story circles around our main character - Aidan, who loses his job as lawyer and is forced to go live and work oon a small island. The books goes with a slow start after revieling something like a little tale before the first chapters, leaving you to wonder how this will fit in the rest of the story.
I don't mind slow starts. Not that I am a fan of them, but I know well enough that a real gem of a st
Reeka (BoundbyWords)
As seen on my blog:

There are books that excel at descriptive narrative, and then there are books that OWN it. The Prodigal owned the hell out of it's imagery. I didn't get the smallest chance to wonder what someone looked like, what the wind was doing to that sand dune over there-Michael Hurley painted the most beautiful pictures. My knowledge on the ways of the sea is nil, and even less so for the boats that roam it's surfaces. Hurley comes from a background of sea and law, so The Prodigal
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it

Aidan Sharpe is one of the best lawyers in Raleigh. When opposing counsel walk in and see him behind the defendant's desk, their hearts sink, as Sharpe has the ability to make juries see things as he does and rarely loses a case. He is the primary practicing partner at one of the most respected law firms, and is highly compensated. Life is his for the taking.

But things are not going as well as they seem. His marriage fell apart a few years ago and he has been hesitant to form another relationsh
Posted first on Blog Critics as Book Review:'The Prodigal' by Michael Hurley.

Romance and Romanticism, are they one and the same, or is the distinction just so complicated they sometimes get interchanged. Or can they also be just a part of the same whole. In real diction romance is about that feeling associated with love, while romanticism is often a description of that romance or a feeling emphasizing inspiration, subjectivity and the primacy of each individual.

In the Prodigal by Michael Hurley
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I am going to start off by saying that if you get confused easily, it will definitely happen to you in the beginning of this story. The story begins with the disappearance of a stolen ship, which was called The Prodigal. The ship was taken by a young gypsy girl and her lover. They were never seen again. This part of the story takes place in 1851. You then jump ahead to present day 2010, where the character that you are introduced to is Aiden Sharpe. He is a lawyer whose practice is out of Raleig ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Prodigal by Michael Hurley opens with a princess and her lover escaping on a boat and then jumps to the present where we meet Aidan Sharpe on Ocracoke Island. Aiden is a talented partner in a prestigious Raleigh law firm whose life is on the cusp of taking a turn in a new direction. While it looks like Aiden's life is headed for a great fall, he actually begins to rebuild his life in an unexpected way back on Ocracoke Island with an unlikely group of cohorts while overcoming an enemy and res ...more
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Aidan Sharpe is a very good lawyer and most other lawyers are afraid of having to go against him in court. After a trip to Ocracoke Island, he finds himself needing to take over a case from his friend and colleague, Boyce Stannard. However, things did not go the way he hoped they would and Aiden ended up having his license suspended for a year. A partner in the law firm where he works, Gay, helps him out by making arrangements for Aidan to spend some time on Ocracoke Island with Father Marcus O' ...more
Judith Kirscht
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A Rich and Satisfying Read
By Judy on October 24, 2014 in Book Reviews, Reading

The Prodigal

If you’re a fan of sea legends, like the Flying Dutchman, or puzzles from the past, like Dan Brown’s Da Vince Code, I invite you to read Michael Hurley’s The Prodigal, a novel that mixes the aura of such mysteries with parables and romantic suspense for a lively and absorbing read. Kirkus reviews calls it “Stirring, romantic, and evocative of the sea’s magic,” BookTrib writes that it is “a glorious, satis
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I received this book as part of Goodreads Giveaways.
In this debut novel from author Michael Hurley, the story of the mysterious ship named the Prodigal is intertwined with a cast of characters on Oracoke Island, NC. We start with what seems a fable, of a gypsy princess who runs away with her true love, a salior, on board an amazingly powerful boat. we then switch to present day. When hot shot lawyer Aidan Sharp makes a mistake in a major case, he finds himself suddenly left with nothing. His men
Create With Joy
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
GIVEAWAY: Visit Create With Joy for your chance to win 1 of 5 Autographed Copies of The Prodigal by Michael Hurley, now through October 20, 2013 – US/Canada!

It takes a lifetime to build a meaningful life, a flourishing marriage, a successful career.

It takes a moment to watch those things implode.

No one knows this better than Aidan Sharpe – the golden boy who lost his Midas touch. Once a high-powered attorney and partner at the prestigious law firm of McFadden Brown, Aidan now finds himself lyi
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Once a high powered attorney Aidan Sharpe, now fallen must pick up his life. The book starts with Sharpe finding himself on the beach of Ocracoke Island after a night of heavy drinking with no memory of where or even how he ended up there. Think of the questions, the confusion. This man was at the top of his game and lost it all. If anyone needed a wakeup call, it was Sharpe and he certainly got it in this book.
The adventure has already begun as he starts his journey of self-awareness, awakening
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've read in years if not the best. The Prodigal is destined to become a classic. I don't even know how to put into words how I truly feel about this book. It's like walking into a room, and realizing that you are in the presence of greatness. It isn't just a work of fiction to be enjoyed. It is a stirring, thought provoking tale that will cause you to think about your own life and beliefs. It is a story with a message and lessons that we need to learn.

Hurley does a
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Prodigal is a book that contains many different facets and layers in portraying the hidden tales and mixing it with a contemporary twist. The book begins with a background scene in Greece in 1851 and a father is devastated that his daughter is running off with a young attractive boy. The father hates how the boy has talked his daughter into committing the worst type of sin imaginable, and she freely chose to do so. They steal a ship called the Prodigal and this builds the plot concerning the ...more
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What is there to say about The Prodigal by Michael Hurley other than from the start and page after page, the story is being told with a poetic nuance while details makes us see every scene and sometimes even feel them. In the first part of the book, Aidan Sharps’ life is told briefly up until he reaches Ocracoke Island. He is on the beach and from thereon mystery begins as Michael Hurley introduces all the characters leaving the reader helpless but to just go with his flow, curious and devouring ...more
Sharon Martin
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have read in a long while from page one the reader is totally engrossed. The author creates an air of mystery.

The story revolves around the little town of Ocracoke Island where lawyer Aidan Sharpe is trying to rebuild his life when he meets the local priest father Marcus.

The reason why I loved this book was that each of the main characters had or were keeping a secret and had to learn to trust love and bind together in order for them all to reach / attain their destiny.

Allyson Bossie
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a NC girl born and raised, I wanted to read this book because it is set on Ocracoke Island here in the Outer Banks of NC. Anyone who is from here has fond memories of their own frolicking in the sand, the sites, and the area.

I loved reading this book, because I have been to Ocracoke, and I can imagine it all in my mind as it is happening in the book as if it were real. I loved how various occurrences in the book are symbolic of things that happened in the Bible. For instance, in the very begi
Julie Barrett
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Prodigal by Michael Hurley
I wanted to read this book because it's the story of a boat from very long ago and the front cover looks fabulous. The story line I knew it would keep my interest.
Story starts out with a lawyer Aidan Sharpe and he's a lawyer but on the outer banks island for a few days. Just drifting around drinking and with his law buddies.
Upon returning to the mainland and work they discover they are to be in court for a major trial but things don't quite go as planned and we find
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story.

This is a tale told by Aidan Sharpe, a 40-something very successful lawyer, probably the best in town, had a wife, money and everything. In one single mistake (stupid mistake), he lost everything... his job, wife, money, and even some friends. As an advice of someone dear to him, he went to Ocracoke Island and there he met a lot of people who would teach him what it means to really 'live' his life.

I liked that this book has a male character lead, Aidan was easy to get along with.
Brandy Dorsch
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received a copy from the author in exchange for my review.
This book was a little outside my normal reading zone but I grew up in and around the Outer Banks of North Carolina, so I tend to want to read the books that talk about the islands. :)

The first part of the book was a little slow for me and I did have my doubts about finishing it but I don't like to do that. The lovers running away gripped me because I know what it is like to have everyone against the love that you have found. I was a li
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The title says, The Prodigal, so the story of the prodigal son came to mind. Thus, I was suspecting a religious tone but discovered that it was more. Along with the spiritual lining, there was law, romance, fantasy, and mystery ..rolled up in one. Just when I thought the setting was going to be courtroom drama, it moved to a beach. So I thought, romance, yay! Then it moved to the ocean and wow it was magical! Before I knew it I found myself at the end of the book feeling very satisfied and happy ...more
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Exciting, satisfyingly eloquent and a delight 1 5 Nov 27, 2013 10:30AM  

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Michael Hurley is an American novelist, memoirist, and essayist living in London. He keeps up with readers at his website,

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