It's now the late-Summer of 1767. As the eagerly anticipated sequel to Beyond Derrynane opens, having spent almost six eventful years at the court of Maria Theresa, Eileen O'Connell has availed herself of a fortuitous opportunity to travel back to Ireland.
Her vivacious personality matched only by her arresting physical presence, Eileen returns to Derrynane this time not as a teenage widow but, rather, as one of the most recognised figures at the glittering Habsburg court. Before departing Ireland several months later, she experiences a whirlwind romance, leading to a tumult of betrayal and conflict within the O'Connell clan. Once back in Vienna she unexpectedly finds her responsibilities as governess to the youngest Habsburg archduchess now linked to relations between France and Austria.
Abigail, rather than being eclipsed by her colourful younger sister, has instead ascended to the vaulted position of principal lady-in-waiting to Empress Maria Theresa. No longer "just a girl from deep in Kerry," she is a beloved - and powerful - figure at court.
Hugh O'Connell, the youngest of the large family, leaves behind waning adolescence and a fleeting attraction to the youngest archduchess when he begins a military career in the Irish Brigade of the armies of Louis XV. But, perhaps as a foreshadowing of his adult life and career, more royal entanglement awaits him in France …
In the continuing saga, the O'Connells will confront intrigue, romance - even violence. Despite their innate wisdom, cunning and guile, what their futures hold remains to be seen.
With his uniquely-descriptive prose, Kevin O'Connell again deftly weaves threads of historical fact and fancy to create a colourful tapestry affording unique insights into the courts of eighteenth-century Catholic Europe as well as Protestant Ascendancy–ruled Ireland. Watch as the epic unfolds amongst the O'Connells, their friends and enemies, as the tumultuously-dangerous worlds in which they dwell continue to gradually - but inexorably - change.
Beyond Derrynane traces the largely-fictional lives of several of the O’Connell family of Derrynane in County Kerry, Ireland in the mid-to-late eighteenth century, focusing on that of the Gaelic poet, Eileen O’Connell. This work – and the three books to follow in The Derrynane Saga – present a sweeping chronicle, set against the larger drama of Europe in the early stages of significant change, dramatising the roles, which have never before been treated in fiction, played by a small number of expatriate Irish Catholics of the fallen "Gaelic Aristocracy" (of which the O'Connells, of the lower-to-middling ranks, were amongst the few still-intact families) at the courts of Catholic Europe, as well as relating their complex, at times dangerous, lives at home in Protestant Ascendancy-ruled Ireland. The tantalisingly few documented historical facts that are actually known of the lives of the O'Connells and their fellow "Wild Geese" provide the threads around which the tale is woven, into which strategic additions of numerous fictional and historical personalities and events intertwine seamlessly.