In the summer of 1922, Robert Shannon, a young American hero of the Great War, lands in Ireland. A Marine chaplain, he was present at the frightful Battle of Belleau Wood, and he still suffers from shell shock. His mentor hopes that a journey Robert had always wanted to make - to find his family roots - will restore his equilibrium and his vocation. Unbeknownst to Robert, a safety net has been spread beneath him: All along the banks of the river that bears his family name, a chain of support has been put into place - to guide him, nurture him, and protect him. But there is more to the story: On his return from the war, Robert Shannon witnessed startling and lethal corruption in the Archdiocese of Boston. As a consequence, he has also been sent to Ireland to secure his silence - permanently.At dawn one morning, Robert steps ashore from a freighter in the river's estuary and is thrust headlong into the maelstrom of Irish politics, with the country now roiling from the civil war that followed the 1921 Treaty with Britain. While Robert faces the dangers of a strife-torn nation and is pursued by the venom of true evil, Ireland's myths and people, its beliefs and traditions, its humor and wit, unfurl healingly before his feet every step of the way. And the River Shannon, her beauty, her legends, and her lore, give comfort to the young man, who is inspired by the words of his mentor: "Find your soul and you'll live."Driven by his eloquent passion for his country and its spirit, Frank Delaney, the acclaimed author of Ireland and Tipperary, returns once more to his home terrain with a beautifully written, meticulously researched, and expertly paced novel. Shannon is a timeless and unforgettable account of salvation, belief, duty - and the healing power of discovering one's roots. In these pages, faith, commitment, the benign quirks of Irish myth, and the menace of Irish history all coalesce into an epic narrative of one young America...More
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A Feast for Soul, Heart -- and Ear
I can't remember when I've enjoyed a book this much. I had read Delaney's "Ireland" on Kindle and much enjoyed that, too. The fact that Delaney himself narrates this book enlivens and enhances it. No fake Irish accent here. Delaney's vocal switches with each character are subtle, never overdone, and suit the style of the book well. The characters are richly drawn, the plot is suspenseful and treats history respectfully, and the descriptions of the land and river are keenly vivid.
Ireland, also by Delaney. I'm trying to think of books that give The Great War and its effects such depth within a fictional work. How I wish it had been "the war to end all wars" - but Delaney recounts its horrors in a way far more compelling than a straight historical account.
Besides Robert? (which is a given), I'd have to say Ellie Kennedy. Her strength, skill, intelligence, initiative, and humor will stay with me. I wish I had a friend like her.
Besides Robert? I'd have to say Vincent Patrick Ryan. Although he's the "villain," Delaney skillfully gives us enough back story that he becomes, if not sympathetic, at least complex. Without him, the story would have been much flatter.
I'll be looking for more in the same vein.