O'Sullivan's Odyssey
Rick Spier
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Buy *O'Sullivan's Odyssey* by Rick Spier online

OíSullivanís Odyssey
Rick Spier
Moon Donkey Press
747 pages
May 2006
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Very few books strike me so deeply as did Rick Spierís creative historical fiction novel OíSullivanís Odyssey. To be sure, this book is now one of my all-time favorites Ė right along with Shadow of An Indian Star (Bill and Cindy Paul) and Shibumi (Trevanian) Ė and it will have a reserved place on my bookshelf indefinitely.

OíSullivanís Odyssey is not a book to be taken lightly. This 754-page novel will have readers contemplating the vibrant characters for a long time after the book has been read. The book was terribly difficult to set aside when real life came bidding for my time, and readers will find an emotional and educational journey with this book. I highly recommend Spierís novel; if I could rate it 10 stars out of 5 stars, I would.

Beautiful art on the bookís protective slipcover depicts the passage of time and the ghosts of the characterís past. The imagery fits the narrative perfectly as it is the tale of one generationís ghosts returning to haunt the next generationís youth.

This is a moving, captivating tale of one familyís dream of returning to greater times during the horrific potato famine of 1845 and the years that followed it. Historical and political significance plays a large role in the control and demise of the proud Irish people. Irelandís history, the cause of the famine in the first place, and why the Irish were forced to subsist on the single crop is revealed with such class and elegance that it is difficult to describe here to you today. Other historical events that are involved in the book include the American Civil War and those who fought for and against the freedom of slaves in America.

Donal OíSullivan Beara has a long history of obligations, and a family legacy with roots that go back to great chieftains and leaders of the Irish people weighs heavily on his shoulders Ė a duty imposed on him by a father who could not let go of the past. Alone except for a few loyal friends, Donal must find himself and the reason for his life, but in order to accomplish this, he must let go of a commitment that he didnít choose to take on in the first place. This journey into himself takes him across the globe until his journey comes full circle and he returns home.

I have never before used the term "master storyteller," but the title fits Spier perfectly. His love for the classic tales and classic storytellers will become obvious to readers of OíSullivanís Odyssey. Despite the size and scope of this book, readers will not want the story to end. The authorís compassion, empathy, and true understanding of both basic human character and of the book's setting are combined with poetic use of language. Accurately depicting struggles of immigrants and slaves of the time, Spier compares their experiences with the poverty and oppression of the Irish.

Rick Spier was born in Georgia, a beautiful place that appears in his novel at one point, but now resides in Seattle along with his wife and daughters. I have no doubt that Rick Spier will soon be a common and respected name in the world of literacy.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Lillian Brummet [www.sunshinecable.com/~drumit], 2007

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