An engrossing, evocative tale of survival…
Set in AD 549. Fitz-Gerald’s prequel to the Adirondack Spirit Series cleverly integrates a coming-of-age theme within a dramatic supernatural story. For as long as Conchobar has known, he has lived in the abbey of Skellig Michael as a monk. His father not only abandoned him but left him with a curse. After his mother’s death, he is brought to the abbey as a newborn and stays there, getting himself ready for a life as a mason. But an unfortunate incident leaves him washed ashore. Rescued by a group, he soon finds himself in the captivity of their enemies. Trying to adjust to his new life, Conchobar realizes his curse has followed him everywhere. He must fight the evil that surrounds him or die trying. Conchobar, with his endurance, strong will, courage, and gentle nature makes for an endearing protagonist. His sad life is a series of mishaps, but Fitz-Gerald reduces the severity of his dismal situation with kindness that he gets from complete strangers along with hope for tomorrow. As Conchobar finds himself drifting into offbeat situation every step of the way, strangers’ compassion keeps him afloat. In becoming a part of Three Fingers’s family, he discovers his own desires, potential, and his unexplained supernatural powers. The first-person narrative is straightforward and somber, perfectly shining light on Conchobar’s tentative moves in the void of his loss. The pacing stays leisurely, and the prose is crisp. Fitz-Gerald conveys Conchobar’s earnest sense of duty—to little finger’s family, to the village, to Ferocious Wind, to the healers, to Tends Hearth’s family—with conviction. The characters, including the secondary ones are sketched with sympathy and perception, and their shifting relationships is rooted in reality. The story is at its best when Fitz-Gerald mutes the Conchobar’s contemplation of his own predicament and focuses on the ongoing conflict between Three Fingers and enemy villages. Fitz-Gerald’s strength is his ability to evoke sense of place. Several plausible twists put a new spin on the story of coming of age while a touch of paranormal adds to the intrigue. Along the way, Fitz-Gerald explores family, community, unity, survival, and love. There are no major conflicts in the story, and the few pages shorter narrative would have made reading experience more pleasant. Nonetheless, the novel is engrossing and keeps the readers invested. By the end the reader feel they really know Conchobar, Ferocious Wind, Tends Hearth and other characters with all their intensity and passion. This is a thoroughly gripping read.
The Curse of Conchobar
A Prequel to the Adirondack Spirit Series
By David Fitz-Gerald
Pub date January 14, 2021
Price $17.95 (USD) Paperback, $2.98 Kindle edition