In this compelling, richly researched novel, author Andrew Joyce tells a story of determination and grit as the Mahoney clan fights to gain a foothold in America. From the first page to the last, fans of Edward Rutherford and W. Michael Gear will enjoy this riveting, historically accurate tale of adventure, endurance, and hope.
In the second year of an Gorta Mhór—the Great Famine—nineteen-year-old Devin Mahoney lies on the dirt floor of his small, dark cabin. He has not eaten in five days. His only hope of survival is to get to America, the land of milk and honey. After surviving disease and storms at sea that decimate crew and passengers alike, Devin’s ship limps into New York Harbor three days before Christmas, 1849. Thus starts an epic journey that will take him and his descendants through one hundred and fourteen years of American history, including the Civil War, the Wild West, and the Great Depression.
The reflected firelight flickered across awestruck faces and mirrored in the eyes of those who listened as stories were told of yesterday’s indignities and tomorrow’s aspirations. The look in those yearning eyes spoke of hopes and dreams. The laughter heard around the fire conveyed a sense that somehow it would all work out. For a few short hours, on Saturday nights, in the deep woods of a place none of them had ever heard of before, the constant fear that lived within their hearts was banished from their lives.
In time, they wouldprevail. Their sons and daughters would one day stand straight and tall as proud Americans, as proud as their fathers had been to be Irish.
“You know, Devin Mahoney, the Americans call us a strange people with strange voices in a strange land we know nothing about. And yes, our voices are strange to those who were born here. Perhaps there is little, or nothing, we can do about that. We can try to sound like them so they will not fear us so. But over time, their ways will become our ways. In time, we will get to know this land and our children will know it better still. And their children will be the captains of industry and among the leaders who make the laws. But it has to start somewhere, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s going to start with me. My children will be born here and be rightful citizens of this great country known as the United States of America.”
We rode in under a cloudless, blue-vaulted sky that seemed to go on forever. I glanced toward the arroyo. Sunlight glistened off a dozen rifle barrels. The sight of those guns gave me hope. Maybe I’d live long enough to see Luke Short in prison. I’d sure hate to die in this scrub patch while Luke was down in Las Cruces, drinking and whoring it up.
Still holding my gun, on unsteady legs, I walked to the back of the barn and emptied my gut, splashing my boots in the process. I heaved everything I had in me and then some. When I was done, I wiped my mouth with the sleeve of my coat. On that fiery-hot day, in the middle of nowhere, in a godforsaken patch of desert, I learned that it is not easy to kill a man. It’s not easy at all, even if the man needed killing.