Beyond Derrynane: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe (Book One of The Derrynane Saga)
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.