Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Bishop's Man (The Cape Breton Trilogy #2)” as Want to Read:
The Bishop's Man (The Cape Breton Trilogy #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Bishop's Man

(The Cape Breton Trilogy #2)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  7,017 Ratings  ·  437 Reviews
The year is 1993 and Father Duncan MacAskill stands at a small Cape Breton fishing harbour a few miles from where he grew up. Enjoying the timeless sight of a father and son piloting a boat, Duncan takes a moment’s rest from his worries. But he does not yet know that his already strained faith is about to be tested by his interactions with a troubled boy, 18-year-old Danny ...more
Hardcover, 399 pages
Published July 30th 2009 by Random House Canada (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bishop's Man, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Bishop's Man

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jennifer (aka EM)
A quick and gut-reaction 5 stars. It took me at least half-way through to figure out what he was doing, and to shed the preconceptions of what I thought this book was going to be. The last 10050 pages are masterful.



This turned out to be a different novel, a better novel, than the one I was expecting. I know Linden MacIntyre as a journalist, and knew this was about the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. So I expected a journalistic exploration of that topic
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
A topical story for our times told by an insider, Fr. Duncan MacAskill, who is a "hit man" for his church, responsible for removing sexual predators from among his colleagues to safer grounds, (so that they are free to commit more crimes, it seems from the news reports these days).

The story focuses on Duncan's unravelling and descent into alcoholism from combinations of the guilt piled on during his childhood, his suppressed feelings towards the women in his life, the isolation of his office, an
With Linden MacIntyre being one of my favourite journalists, I was thrilled to hear of his novel being honoured as the winner of the Scotiabank Giller prize for 2009. After reading the synopsis of the story, I knew it would be an uncomfortable read, but trusted in MacIntyre’s reverence and honesty to make it through. I was not disappointed.

The Bishop’s man is a story told in spirals, as we twist and turn through past and present fluidly, giving us a clearer picture of the events that can become
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
"You know the eagles secret? He never lets us see him scavenging. You only see him soaring. Or sitting high up, somewhere out of reach. Kind of superior. He's very discreet about the mundane, the mortal... It's easier to mythologize that way." (346)

This book moved me in unexpected ways. As a member of a "helping" profession, I often find myself extremely isolated. I work with sexual offenders, addicts, victims- much as the central character of this story- and he truly gets the sense of isolation
Mary Lou
Oct 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
I avoided this book because of the repulsiveness of the subject matter and, were it not for book club, would probably have kept on avoiding it. That would have been a shame, as it’s turned out to be a good book. The main character struggles with guilt arising from many “sins” of omission and commission in his past, one of them being his role as the bishop’s go-to guy whenever it was time to move a troublesome priest to a place where he might not cause quite so much trouble. The book grapples wit ...more
Dec 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
This book was wonderfully different from what I was expecting. I was expecting a straight narrative about sexual abuse in one church or community. Instead I got this rich, layered narrative about the priest's role, isolation and the challenges of being both a priest and a man. I loved MacIntyre's style of writing, and the weave of the narrative. Nothing in here was black or white, and the story continued to raise questions throughout. This was an excellent example of "show, not tell." The reader ...more
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This novel won the Canadian Giller prize and at the time it was considered a surprise. I didn't expect to like this novel, but I did, very much. I became totally engrossed in it. It's a quiet, psychological novel, written in a well-crafted spare style. The subject couldn't be more important or relevant. The main character, a sympathetic priest who only wants to do the right thing, is given the assignment of helping to cover up the sexual abuses that are increasingly coming to light. His suspicio ...more
Aug 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Journalist Linden MacIntyre uses fiction to tackle one of the biggest scandals of the 20th century Catholic Church, the sexually abusive priests and the havoc that they created. Through the eyes of Duncan MacAskill, a fifty something priest, we are taken on a tour of the emotional and political landscape of an institution and individuals failing to respond adequately to a major crisis. Set in Cape Breton in the 1990's MacIntyre has spun a tale that is believeable in its understanding of a comple ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit that because of the subject matter (sexual abuse within the Church)I was not comfortable to read The Bishop's Man, but after reading other reviews on goodreads I figured I would give it a shot.

First of all, the way that it is written reminds me of The Sound And The Fury in that it jumps in time from different moments in the past to the present. It felt like every other page where the time or place would shift without warning, but it really fit with the story. It was not difficult to foll
Oct 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
"One day we'll talk", I said. "Yes", you said. "About purposes", I said. "Okay", you said. "Or about having no purposes", I said.
Listening to this audio book was, at times, grating because so much of the conversation goes on as above. Lots of "I/he/she said" after short sentences going nowhere....why?....because no one ever talks!
I missed the point of this one, I think. There are mysteries and secrets and guilt referred to throughout but very few explanations. Father MacAskill is so aloof that
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed - yes, genuinely enjoyed reading this book much, much more than I'd anticipated. I've always admired Linden MacIntyre as a journalist and assumed he would have an ideally balanced perspective, of both compassion and acuity, for such controversial subject matter as the sexual abuse scandals associated with the Catholic church. That admiration and confidence in the author's vision still didn't give me the stomach, though, for a story so closely ripped from the headlines, with the news of ...more
Aug 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The relaxed pace of MacIntyre's prose matches the setting of the novel - a boating community coast of Nova Scotia. He feels no need to rush the story, as he slowly introduces us to the characters and the situation that slowly suffocates the personal life of Father Duncan MacAskill. I enjoy this type of skillful writing, where the author slowly leads the reader deep into the narrative, giving him time to exist and understand this world.

The strengths of the prose might explain my disappointment w
Lorina Stephens
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
To read The Bishop’s Man, by Linden MacIntyre, is to come to an understanding about nuance, patience and the sometimes ambiguity of knowledge.

The novel is set in the late 1990s of Cape Breton, at a time when the Catholic Church is under siege both from within and without, and when Canada’s fisheries are collapsing. Come into this Father Duncan MacAskill, known among his colleagues as the ‘Exorcist’, the damage-control man for the Bishop of Antigonish.

Duncan himself is in need of damage control,
Eva van Loon
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Successful as it is in revealing the inner workings of Mother Church, depicting local characters and transmitting the ambience of Cape Breton, this book did not make me want to go there, any more than it made me. want to attend Mass. More than the weather seems morose in this book: our hero, Duncan, has apparently been stuck in survivor's guilt mode for nigh on 20 years.
The panoply of characters is at first confusing; I pawed back and forth through the book, trying to figure out who this Willie
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Picked up this latest Giller winner in hardback for $2.00 at the Book Drive.

I really enjoyed this book! Father Duncan MacAskill is a fixer for the bishop. He is the one who deal with priests who have a drinking problem, are suspected of being abusers, have broken the vow of celibacy or are thinking of leaving the church. One problem is that Father Duncan has issues of his own.

It is a very real book. The dialogue is very natural and the characters believable. There is a real Canadian feel to thi
Dec 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book was the winner of the 2009 Giller Prize (a canadian literature award) which often scares me off but I'm so glad I took a chance. The subject matter intrigued me and I admire MacIntyre as a journalist. The story is told in a very conversational style, with constant flashbacks that are a bit troublesome to keep straight at first but as you slowly piece the story together, it's very effective and realistic. The subject matter is disturbing but the author handles with perfection, never get ...more
Jun 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book would have gotten 4 stars if the storyline was changed to be linear, or possibly if I was able to read it in one sitting. The story jumped around so much, between 3 or 4 different time periods in the protagonist's life, that I was constantly wondering where I was in his story. It seems like these days you can't write an award winning novel without using non-linear storytelling. Everybody's doing it! I think it has its place, but not all stories need to be that convoluted. Some just nee ...more
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-gillers
I admit to being apprehensive about reading this book. With so much controversy and scandal surrounding this topic, how would MacIntyre approach it?

This book was beautifully written and kept me wanting more, even when it was finished!

The landscape of the East Coast is as haunting as the story.

Tackling tough issues such as sexual abuse, subastance abuse, PTSS from World War II, suicide, family relationships and dynamics, etc. This book was a heavy read, but in my opnion worthy of the Giller Prize
Nov 11, 2009 rated it liked it
I agree with what many have said regarding the time frame of story jumping around so much, difficult to keep track of where you are in the story - after finishing the book I am still not 100% certain of what really happened - and who was guilty of what - not sure I would have picked this book as a Giller winner. There still seem to be some unanswered questions for me.
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Although this novel tackles issues of scandal and abuse in the Catholic Church, it's ultimately a novel about a priest dealing with temptation, guilt, secrets, and loneliness. I didn't find the plot "engrossing [with] the page-turning energy of a thriller", but I found it a thought-provoking read and Father Duncan McAskill a character with whom I could empathize.
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I liked it, but I didn't love it. It was definitely a Cape Breton book, and I enjoyed the local-ness of it. The jumping from past to present got annoying really quickly, but I don't think it took away from the story at all. I'd like to read his memoirs now.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
I gave up on this book. I found the writing hard to follow. The flipping between timelines with very little explanation drove me nuts. I couldn't keep track of where the story was. I rarely give up on a book but this one just got me too frustrated
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a book that will sit with me for a long time to come.
A Difficult subject matter, handled in a carefully crafted story, there remain so many questions to be answered, so many thoughts to be pondered.
Well done Mr MacIntyre, well done.
Nov 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
It was just okay for me. I wasn't keen on MacIntyre's style. It felt self-consciously oblique to me. Didn't find myself caring much about the main character. But it was an interesting and unusual perspective on child molestation and the Catholic church, and it never got sordid, so points for that.
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I love Cape Breton literature, but this one wasn't one of my favorites. It wasn't MacIntyre's usual vibrant work and it was rather boring for the most part. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't really all that great, either.
Victoria Shepherd
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A moody book that captures the conflicted and sometimes anguished life of a man of the cloth.
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
amazingly well done; complicated issues are not resolved
Jan 10, 2010 rated it liked it
OK, but not great. Found the flashback/flashforward style a bit tedious at times. Wouldn't have been my choice for the Giller.
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
(view spoiler) ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
On the first page of this novel I decided I like the way Linden MacIntyre writes. On the second page I decided I like Father Duncan MacAskill, the priest who tells his story with appealing humility and candor. Add to that the Maritime location, and by the third page, I was hooked.

Father MacAskill is the priest the bishop calls on when there are uncomfortable confrontations to be made. He cleans up the mess made when a priest allows his baser urges to overpower his ideals. The bishop makes the de
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Good House
  • Mercy Among the Children
  • The Time In Between
  • Through Black Spruce
  • The Disappeared
  • Clara Callan
  • The Book of Secrets
  • Two Solitudes
  • River Thieves
  • A Good Man
  • Late Nights on Air
  • Away
  • Rockbound
  • Kit's Law
  • No Great Mischief
  • The Piano Man's Daughter
  • February
  • The Navigator of New York
Linden MacIntyre is the co-host of the fifth estate and the winner of nine Gemini Awards for broadcast journalism. His most recent book, a boyhood memoir called Causeway: A Passage from Innocence won both the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the Evelyn Richardson Prize for Non-Fiction.

Other books in the series

The Cape Breton Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Long Stretch (The Cape Breton Trilogy #1)
  • Why Men Lie (The Cape Breton Trilogy #3)

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • American Street
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Stillwater Rising
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Lark Song
    $4.99 $1.99
  • In Twenty Years
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Winter Men
    $3.49 $0.99
  • The Daughters of Palatine Hill
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A House for Happy Mothers
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Love Poems (New Directions Paperbook)
    $11.95 $2.99
  • The Drowning Guard
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Anathema
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Neverhome
    $12.99 $2.99
  • Sinner: A Paradise Novel (The Books of History Chronicles)
    $11.49 $3.99
  • A Promise of Hope (Kauffman Amish Bakery, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • 'Round Midnight: A Novel
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Ulterior Motives (Sun Coast Chronicles, #3)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Prisoner B-3087
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Midwife's Revolt (The Midwife Series, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Place of Peace (Kauffman Amish Bakery, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Beekeeper's Promise
    $4.99 $2.49
  • The Two-Family House
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Where Do I Go? (Yada Yada House of Hope, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Bloodletter's Daughter
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Gift of Grace (Kauffman Amish Bakery, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Luxe (Luxe, #1)
    $3.74 $0.99
  • A Dream of Home (Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Thing About Jellyfish
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Broken Angels
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lioness of Morocco
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Girl from the Savoy
    $10.74 $1.99
  • The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Wish
    $5.67 $2.99
  • Treason: A Novel
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Wednesday Wars
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Red Mountain
    $4.99 $1.49
  • She Who Remembers
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Hearts of Resistance
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Nantucket Nights
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Midwife of Hope River: A Novel of an American Midwife
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Life and Other Near-Death Experiences
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Where Hope Begins
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Skin
    $1.99 $0.99
  • Endangered (Ape Quartet, #1)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Inamorata
    $3.99 $0.99
  • A Life of Joy (Kauffman Amish Bakery, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Poisonwood Bible
    $11.99 $11.99
  • Cometh the Hour (The Clifton Chronicles #6)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Question of Red
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A.D. 30 (A.D., #1)
    $7.99 $3.99
  • Karolina's Twins: A Novel
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Illuminati: Roundtable of the Bosses (The Cartel #7)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The 158-Pound Marriage
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Chasing Rainbows: A Novel
    $3.99 $0.99
  • A Season of Love
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Curtain of Green: and Other Stories (Harvest/HBJ Book)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1)
    $6.99 $1.99