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An Epic ten Volume Series


A Desolate Peace is the first broad account of the epic clash between the Elizabethan and Gaelic Worlds.

The story and series begin as the thin veneer of civilization is worn down by the growing intolerance of religious and cultural differences. Soon chaos holds the second half of the 1500’s in its deadly grip.

At stake is the mastery of this world and the next - the fate of nations and their peoples. Spain sets out to rule the world and Rome seeks to restore spiritual control over this life and the next. England and the Protestant Reformation oppose them both. But fiercely independent Gaelic Ireland is Catholic and must make a stand.

The mysterious hand of fortune fashions together a surprising chain of events. Paths cross to shake the very foundations of a deeply distressed world – a world that goes to war with itself over its many contradictions.

An obscure Irish youth is the enigmatic protagonist of this series.  Hugh O’Neill has an ancestral claim to the right to rule the Gaelic World. To spare him from murderous rivals, his guardians give him up while yet a child to the protection of a senior Crown Official who takes him back to England. There, he is raised in the Puritan faith and educated as a loyal Englishman and then fate intervenes. Accompanied by a new found friend Harry Hoveden, Hugh is ordered to return to Ireland and faithfully serve the Queen by introducing English laws and customs among his former people.

Readers will Ride deep into the leafy green glens of Ireland’s savage wilderness. There, fiercely independent Gaels and their Scottish cousins oppose England’s rule and her recently reformed religion.

Fiction or History?
A Desolate Peace is attributed to an actual historical figure - Harry Hoveden. He sets out to relate his account of what brought about the fall of the independent Gaelic world. He reminds us that history is usually written by the conqueror in the blood of the vanquished, so Harry pledges to set the record straight and to favour no one.

Harry was Hugh O’Neill’s secretary and near constant companion until the latter’s death in 1616. Harry’s authorship provides fictional plausibility to A Desolate Peace as he is the credible source of details surrounding the motivation of characters and the revelation of embarrassing truths in the heavily researched historical record. Truths that are hidden behind national myths and stereotypes.

Harry draws the reader into the unfolding narrative. He speculates on what he believes, or relates what has been told by others, concerning the famously enigmatic character of Hugh O’Neill – a protagonist who mostly kept his feelings, and reasons for his decisions secretive. Without Harry's account, Hugh O'Neill's character and motivation would remain as much a mystery today as it was then.

Discover the mysterious ‘Stone of Destiny’ or ‘Stone of the Kings’ - The Lia Fail or Lac Ni Ri. Half the stone reposes on a remote Irish hillside; the other lies beneath the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey. Skeptics say the stone’s power exists only in those who believe in it. The Gaels believe the stone conveys the right to rule the Gaels in a man’s world.

But strong women come forward to challenge both the legend and the course of history. They rule England, Scotland, and France and two lead Gaelic Clans. A deadly struggle ensues for earthly power and eternal salvation. The Stone’s myth or legend endures to this present day

Visit the seat of English power in the rapidly growing City of London, where Queen Elizabeth struggles to hold onto her throne as traitors plot her downfall. Be ferried along the River Thames and visit the royal palaces where courtiers vie for the spiritual and temporal leadership of a deeply divided England, torn among dynastic ambitions and between Rome and the Protestant Reformation.

As the story unfolds, Harry emerges as Hugh O’Neill’s alter ego and a sounding board for dealing with the dilemmas posed by conflicting principles, character change and moral redemption.  Hugh O’Neill’s inscrutability provides for mounting suspense until an inescapable decision point is reached. It is with a moment such as this that the fate of the world can turn.

Because the events, characters, and places in A Desolate Peace rest as much as possible upon the verifiable historical record, the reader may conclude that Harry Hoveden’s account reflects a credible interpretation of how and why things unfolded. The Characters are driven to take the action that history records and requires. Yet, the reader is still free to weigh their motives and question the way history has traditionally accounted for them.

A deadly game begins upon the bloody chess board of Europe – a game for the survival of nations and their peoples; for the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church, the Gaels and, indeed, for all of Christendom.

With the Bible in one hand and The Prince - Machiavelli’s book of instructions to rulers - in the other, the players struggle to reshape the world from Dublin to Rome. They soon put down their books to take swords in hand.

You follow the indelible footprints of the Titans of a by-gone age as they track across the yellowed pages of an oft-times suppressed and much mythologized story. Become privy to their thoughts and musings and why they are driven to take the actions they do.

Moral dilemmas lead to pragmatic relativism or righteous intransigence. In the Elizabethan world the characters must keep their wits and swords about them. Espousing humanistic principles and religious righteousness can easily get them killed.

But the issues they faced remain with us today. Do sovereigns and religious leaders have right to demand absolute loyalty and obedience in temporal affairs and infallibility in spiritual matters? Does a subject possess certain inalienable rights over which a sovereign or the state may not trammel? When is treason justified? Whose side is God on? Can a lesser evil ever justify a greater good? Can the end justify the means? Must we tolerate those whose religious beliefs and customs differ from ours providing they do likewise?

About A Desolate Peace

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