Redemption Falls by Joseph O'Connor
A Novel

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1865. The Civil War is ending. Eighteen years after the Irish famine-ship Star of the Sea docked at New York, a daughter of its journey, Eliza Duane Mooney, sets out on foot from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, crossing a ravaged continent on a quest. Eliza is searching for a young boy she has not seen in four years, one of the hundred thousand children drawn into the war. His fate has been mysterious and will prove extraordinary.

It is a walk that will have consequences for many seemingly unconnected survivors: the stunning intellectual Lucia-Cruz McLelland, who deserts New York City to cast her fate with mercurial hero James Con O'Keeffe -- convict, revolutionary, governor of the desolate Western township of Redemption Falls; rebel guerilla Cole McLaurenson, who fuels his own gruesome Westward mission with the blind rage of an outlaw; runaway slave Elizabeth Longstreet, who turns resentment into grace in a Western wilderness where nothing is as it seems.

O'Keeffe's career has seen astonishing highs and lows. Condemned to death in 1848 for plotting an insurrection against British rule in Ireland, his sentence was commuted to life transportation to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania. From there he escaped, abandoning a woman he loved, and was shipwrecked in the Pacific before making his way to the teeming city of New York. A spellbinding orator, he has been hailed a hero by Irish New Yorkers, refugees from the famine that has ravaged their homeland. His public appearances are thronged to the rafters and his story has brought him fame. He has married the daughter of a wealthy Manhattan family, but their marriage is haunted by a past full of secrets. The terrors of Civil War have shaken his every belief. Now alone in the west, he yearns for new beginnings.

Redemption Falls is a Dickensian tale of war and forgiveness, of strangers in a strange land, of love put to the ultimate test. Packed with music, balladry, poetry, and storytelling, this is "a vivid mosaic of a vast country driven wild by war" (Irish Independent), containing "moments of sustained brilliance which in psychological truth and realism make Daniel Defoe look like a literary amateur" (Sunday Tribune). With this riveting historical novel of urgent contemporary resonance, the author of the bestselling Star of the Sea now brings us a modern masterpiece.

About Joseph O'Connor

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Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. His books include six previous novels: Cowboys and Indians (shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize), Desperadoes, The Salesman, Inishowen, Star of the Sea, and Redemption Falls. Star of the Sea became an international bestseller, winning the Irish Post Award for Literature, and France’s Prix Millepages, Italy’s Premio Acerbi, and the Prix Madeleine Zepter for European Novel of the Year. His work has been published in thirty-five languages.
Published October 9, 2007 by Free Press. 465 pages
Genres: History, War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Redemption Falls

Kirkus Reviews

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Immigrants, vagabonds and rebels cross paths in the bloody wake of the American Civil War.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Redemption Falls: A Novel

The New York Times

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A governor, vagabonds and parallel plots converge in a space resembling mid-19th-century Montana.

Nov 25 2007 | Read Full Review of Redemption Falls: A Novel

The Guardian

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A fast-living Irish republican who as a young man saw infants starve on the quays of his native Waterford, O'Keefe has served time as a felon in Van Diemen's Land, and made his escape from those "hope-scalded rocks" to the US.

May 04 2007 | Read Full Review of Redemption Falls: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Irish author O'Connor (Star of the Sea ) delivers a highly stylized post–Civil War period pastiche centered on Redemption Falls, a tumultuous frontier

Jul 30 2007 | Read Full Review of Redemption Falls: A Novel

New York Journal of Books

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Redemption Falls is part two of Joseph O’Connor’s Irish American trilogy.

Jun 10 2010 | Read Full Review of Redemption Falls: A Novel

Book Reporter

Keeping O’Keeffe --- and everyone else --- at arm’s.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Redemption Falls: A Novel

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