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The Last Storytellerby Frank Delaney
Synopses & Reviews
Frank Delaney, New York Times bestselling author of Ireland, Shannon, Tipperary, Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show, and The Matchmaker of Kenmare, is the unparalleled master of Irish historical fiction, bringing Ireland to life with exceptional warmth, wisdom, and wit. Now, in The Last Storyteller, Delaney weaves an absorbing tale of lasting love, dangerous risk, and the healing power of redemption.
“Every legend and all mythologies exist to teach us how to run our days. In kind fashion. A loving way. But there’s no story, no matter how ancient, as important as one’s own. So if we’re to live good lives, we have to tell ourselves our own story. In a good way.” So says James Clare, Ben MacCarthy’s beloved mentor, and it is this fateful advice that will guide Ben through the tumultuous events of Ireland in 1956.
The national mood is downtrodden; poverty, corruption, and a fledgling armed rebellion rattle the countryside, and although Ben wants no part of the upstart insurrection along the northern border, he unknowingly falls in with an IRA sympathizer and is compromised into running guns. Yet despite his perilous circumstances, all he can think about is finding his former wife and true love, the actress Venetia Kelly.
Parted forcibly from Ben years ago, Venetia has returned to Ireland with her new husband, a brutal man and coarse but popular stage performer by the name of Gentleman Jack. Determined not to lose Venetia again, Ben calls upon every bit of his love, courage, and newfound gun-running connections to get her back. And as Ben fights to recapture his halcyon days with Venetia, he must finally reconcile his violent and flawed past with his hopes for a bright and loving future.
Brimming with fascinating Irish history, daring intrigue, and the drama of legendary love, The Last Storyteller is an unforgettable novel as richly textured and inspiring as Ireland itself.
"The riveting final installment of Delaney's Ben McCarthy trilogy (after The Matchmaker of Kenmare) explores the protagonist's relationship with lost love Venetia and his folklore studies with legendary storyteller John Jacob Farrell O'Neill. O'Neill's gift for spinning a yarn is a powerful one, and McCarthy discovers that O'Neill's stories verge on the prophetic, lending this engaging historical a shade of magical realism. McCarthy opens up to O'Neill about Venetia (whom he impregnated when he was much younger), but who is now married to an abusive, deceitful performer — Gentleman Jack. McCarthy also finds himself unwittingly involved with IRA revolutionaries determined to reunite north and south Ireland, even if it means disturbing the countries' young peace. McCarthy finally resolves to liberate Venetia from her cruel husband during one of his hypnotic performances, but the troubled Venetia soon flees her rescuer. Both men — desperate to right the wrongs for which they hold one another responsible — escalate tensions to dangerous levels, while McCarthy struggles to assume O'Neill's mantle as preeminent storyteller and locate his beloved Venetia. Long-time fans of the trilogy will relish its conclusion, while new readers — though likely to feel lost at the outset — will quickly warm to Delaney's vividly described Ireland of the 1950s, its fully-realized inhabitants, and the dynamic political and personal relationships that make for a remarkable story. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Frank Delaney is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Ireland, as well as The Matchmaker of Kenmare, Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show, Tipperary, Shannon, and Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea. A former judge for the Man Booker Prize, Delaney enjoyed a prominent career in BBC broadcasting before becoming a full-time writer. Born in Tipperary, Ireland, he now lives in New York City and Connecticut.
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