O’Sullivan’s Odyssey
Author: Rick Spier

Description

A novel of historical fiction, O’Sullivan’s Odyssey examines the dynamics and consequences of family dysfunction against the backdrop of the Irish Potato Famine and the American Civil War. It tells the story of Donal O’Sullivan Beara, a young Irishman who seems to be marked for greatness but who cannot overcome his tragic flaw–depression and personality disorders rooted in his painful and convoluted relationship with his violent and abusive father–to attain it.

REVIEWS

An award-winning novel by Rick Spier, O’Sullivan’s Odyssey tells of the incredible sojourn by young Donal O’Sullivan and his journey through a life lived in service to his father and the revival of his family name. Engagingly exploring the mind of Donal in an impoverished Ireland and then a war-torn American south during the American Civil War, O’Sullivan’s Odyssey carries readers through an enthralling tale of surviving a winter of depression, a journey of mental, physical, and spiritual growth, and a summer of healing. A welcome addition to community library fiction collections, O’Sullivan’s Odyssey is very highly recommended for its unique and inspiring presentation of the human mind and its historical depiction of a life lived in “interesting times”.

Small Press Bookwatch, May, 2006

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

O’Sullivan’s 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 Spier’s novel; if I could rate it 10 stars out of 5 stars, I would.
Beautiful art on the book’s protective slipcover depicts the passage of time and the ghosts of the character’s past. The imagery fits the narrative perfectly as it is the tale of one generation’s ghosts returning to haunt the next generation’s youth.

This is a moving, captivating tale of one family’s 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. Ireland’s 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 O’Sullivan 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 – 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 didn’t 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 O’Sullivan’s Odyssey. Despite the size and scope of this book, readers will not want the story to end. The author’s 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.

Lillian Brummet
Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com.

 
 
An award-winning novel by Rick Spier, O’Sullivan’s Odyssey tells of the incredible sojourn by young Dónal O’Sullivan and his journey through a life lived in service to his father and the revival of his family name. Engagingly exploring the mind of Dónal in an impoverished Ireland and then a war-torn American south during the American Civil War, O’Sullivan’s Odyssey carries readers through an enthralling tale of surviving a winter of depression, a journey of mental, physical, and spiritual growth, and a summer of healing. A welcome addition to community library fiction collections, O’Sullivan’s Odyssey is very highly recommended for its unique and inspiring presentation of the human mind and its historical depiction of a life lived in “interesting times.”
Midwest Book Review

“Just finished your book and wish to commend you on a great novel. I think your method of communicating history is better, in many respects, than conventional history writing. It’s a great story, well told, and the characters are all very credible, with no superheroes.”

Michael Heavey, author of The May Morning Dew: Ireland and the American Civil War

 
 
An award-winning novel by Rick Spier, O’Sullivan’s Odyssey tells of the incredible sojourn by young Dónal O’Sullivan and his journey through a life lived in service to his father and the revival of his family name. Engagingly exploring the mind of Dónal in an impoverished Ireland and then a war-torn American south during the American Civil War, O’Sullivan’s Odyssey carries readers through an enthralling tale of surviving a winter of depression, a journey of mental, physical, and spiritual growth, and a summer of healing. A welcome addition to community library fiction collections, O’Sullivan’s Odyssey is very highly recommended for its unique and inspiring presentation of the human mind and its historical depiction of a life lived in “interesting times.”

Midwest Book Review