An inspired journey into the cusp of early seventh-century Ireland, this novella is also a finely researched work of historical fiction. The boy who wAn inspired journey into the cusp of early seventh-century Ireland, this novella is also a finely researched work of historical fiction. The boy who would become Brother Edan tells the story of his days on earth, and how he was pulled by an internal force as strong as the sea to lead a monastic life of isolation on the small craggy isle of Skellig, off the south-west tip of county Kerry. The book is enhanced by photographs of Skellig, its topography and the well preserved cells where this colony of monks persevered through turbulent perils brought by the climate's harsh elements and by brutal attacks launched against them by Norse invaders. Determined to survive against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the inhabitants of Skellig Island met and overcame life-challenges that defy contemporary imagination. David Rory O'Neill's fertile mind and skill with language provides the bridge that took me into the intense reality of that time and place. I highly recommend this volume to anyone who seeks to understand the inner motivations that drove Skellig's monastic pioneers to carve out and preserve their community. ...more
Imagine learning everything about the most pivotal events in the history of the world on Planet Earth, wrapped up neatly within 186 pages. That is exaImagine learning everything about the most pivotal events in the history of the world on Planet Earth, wrapped up neatly within 186 pages. That is exactly what John L. Taylor has accomplished in this book. His intention, to make the study of history not only appealing but exciting, is made clear in the Preface. His knowledge is based in rock-solid research, bringing forward the most recent discoveries in all branches of science.
In eloquent, yet simple-to-follow prose, each chapter describes the advance of human beings from our earliest origins, right up to the present moment. We discover how ancient nomadic cultures followed their food supply, and then learned to domesticate animals, allowing settlements to take root in various regions.
Taylor neatly outlines the rise and fall of the greatest, most powerful empires, allowing us to understand the strengths and flaws of those formidable leaders and rulers who changed history. We learn how systems of belief have shifted, due to specific causes, how and why wars have been lost and won, and we see the ever-present influence of religious differences, over human perception.
This book provides an excellent reference, a resource for students of all ages, as the great variety of topics discussed in this slim text will certainly inspire readers to continue their own research according to each individual’s specific interests and innate curiosity. The desire to know more is the greatest gift any student can receive. “Watersheds” delivers that gift, along with a treasure-trove of invaluable information about the world we live in today, and how we arrived at this moment in time. ...more
In “Beauty’s Price”, the second book of David Rory O’Neill’s “West Cork Trilogy” we are reunited with the characters introduced in “Surviving Beauty”.In “Beauty’s Price”, the second book of David Rory O’Neill’s “West Cork Trilogy” we are reunited with the characters introduced in “Surviving Beauty”. O’Neill’s themes combine incidents of high drama, action-packed enough to be in the “thriller” category, with soothing, authentic interaction between his extraordinarily strong characters. The lives they lead might be considered exotic, and far from conventional. Embracing their worldview requires the reader’s willingness to move away from the ordinary.
I am inspired by the bravery displayed by these characters as they move through their individual and collective emotional and physical crises, facing down whatever confronts them. What is most beautiful about their inter-relationships is that no one is alone here; they guard and protect one another, in scenes that combine acts of ferocity with moments of great tenderness.
David and Regan are physically beautiful lovers whose happy ending seems certain, and yet we know that life offers anything but certainty. The evil acts and influences inflicted upon them by Eric Lang and Jo Dillon in “Surviving Beauty” left them both scarred on the inside. Those interior wounds now take their toll, years later.
As we have seen in the world of celebrity, when a woman is blessed with perfect beauty, the asset seen by the world as powerful, she will not necessarily be fortunate. She will not be treated with greater respect, but instead she will experience objectification. Looking into a mirror, she may only see her flaws.
She only knows that she is noticed, no matter where she goes, even into the supermarket. She feels the responses coming at her, and they are not all positive. Being ‘ogled’ can feel more threatening than complimentary. She may be more likely to attract the ‘wrong kind’ of man, the kind of man who wants to possess something of value. She eventually may discover that her beloved was smitten by his own idealization of her, and is terrified of facing the reality of her flaws and complexities.
Jim Burrows provides the final, heroic act of retribution that frees Regan and Mary from being forever imprisoned by the past. But David’s release is less clear. Will he survive beauty’s price? More will be revealed in “Blue Sky Orphan” as his shadow haunts the third book in the West Cork Trilogy. We must believe in his survival, as these characters continue to prove that the power of love stands victorious over adversity and evil. ...more
Major themes in the novels of David Rory O’Neill are human sensitivity, the power of open-hearted empathy, and triumph over adversity, brought by physMajor themes in the novels of David Rory O’Neill are human sensitivity, the power of open-hearted empathy, and triumph over adversity, brought by physical and emotional strength. In “Blue Sky Orphan” we are introduced to Emma, the character I grew to love most, in all the books of his West Cork Trilogy.
In the opening pages we find Emma the pilot, alone in the blue sky, bursting with the joy that comes from feeling such freedom, yet risk-taking, once again. For her, this is an all-too familiar game; cheating death, one more time. Taking risks has become more than second nature for Emma, it is part of her essence. She doesn’t know how to live any other way.
Instinct-injured women are drawn toward forms of danger that would repel those with “normal” instincts. Emma’s self-containment is unnerving for those who observe her closely. She considers herself the observer, and is almost unaware of being observed. Accustomed to attracting the attention of both genders, she remains internally preoccupied with her thoughts, duties and plans of action. Those who watch her ask themselves, “What is it that holds her together and yet apart, so very separate from the rest of us?”
All of that changes when Emma steps out of the comfort zone of her compatible partnership with the enigmatic Peter, into the world of his past, and the people and places he had kept secret from her. Becoming introduced to Lauren and Daniel, two primary characters who populated that world, would open her, change and break her, then make her whole again. Bonny, who completes the inexplicable triad is an enchantress whose spell-casting mesmerizes and captivates Emma.
The mutual attraction between these powerful women is perfectly natural, but their acceptance of one another’s power is utterly unlike what most of us have experienced. That power brings healing beyond measure to each of these individual women, and to the men who love them.
There are surprising, explosive confrontations within the pages of this book, as villainous pirates attack during a pleasure cruise, and Emma witnesses the kind of unholy violence that was part of Peter’s history with Daniel and Lauren. Ultimately, safety comes from the sanctity of the bond that holds these characters together.
What held true for me as I read “Blue Sky Orphan” is the ebb and flow that takes place in each human heart, that constant movement taking us in and out of connection to the hearts of others. ...more