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VINE VOICEon 27 May 2004
Walter Macken, a native of Galway, was born in 1915 and died in his home city at the age of 51. A writer, an actor and a playwright, he is perhaps best known for his novel "Flight of the Doves" - which was adapted for the cinema - and his "Irish Trilogy". "Seek the Fair Land" is the first book of this trilogy, and is set at the time of the Cromwellian Invasions. Although the book itself is a work of fiction, many of the 'background' events are true.
Opening in 1641, the book's central character is Dominick McMahon - having previously lost everything in the Plantation, he now lives in Drogheda. A merchant by trade, he is a husband and a father when he first meets Murdoc - a warrior from the west of Ireland. Dominic himself has little appetite for fighting - though eight years later, he is forced to defend his town against Cromwell's invading army. Within two days of Cromwell's arrival, the town had fallen, with women, children and priests among the estimated 4000 dead. Dominic, however, survives the attack and is forced to flee the city. While his wife, Eibhlinn, is killed in the siege, his son - Peter - and daughter - Mary Ann - also survive. However, the soldier who killed Eibhlinn also left Peter mute with a blow to the head. Joining the family on their escape is a member of the clergy, Father Sebastian, who was rescued by Dominic in the town. They move westwards, towards an area Murdoc had described to Dominic eight years previously - where he hopes he'll be able to raise his family in peace.
I've read a number of Walter Macken's books, and I've found each one very easy to read - like Michael McLaverty, he's a natural storyteller. It isn't always a cheerful book - life for Dominick, his family and Sebastian is a genuine struggle. However, it is a book I'd highly recommend. The remaining books of the trilogy are "The Silent People" and "The Scorching Wind" - well worth reading if you've enjoyed this one
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on 9 February 2006
From the very first pages of this book I was hooked. From dark city streets to wild mountains, from vicious slaughter to triumphant faith, from selfish obedience to heroic opposition - this book has it all. It is a superb portrait of the struggles of the Irish people in that period of history. It does not point the finger, does not take sides, but paints a vivid picture which haunts me still.
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on 7 February 2014
This is the first volume of Macken's Irish Trilogy which focusses on three main turning points in Irish history - vol 1 is set against the Cromwellian invasion of Ireland, beginning with the siege of Drogheda. The second is set against the potato famine and this, the third, is set in the aftermath of the Dublin rebellion and focusses on the move towards independence. The same comments can be applied to all three, they are well written, with an honest approach which depicts the misery inflicted on the Irish people without falling into an "English black, Irish white" over-simplification. The characters are fairly complex, friend and foe, and the true villians are to be found on both sides among those who exploit and are insensitive to the suffering of the poor and downtrodden, be they English, Irish loyalist or Irish rebel. It is worth noting that the books, while part of a set, can really be read in any order as each stands alone on its own merits.
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on 4 May 2013
One of the greatest book ever written about Irish history. Accurate, exciting and well written. The characters are real, the locations superbly well described and you have to keep reading untill the end. And when you've finished it you must follow the family through The Silent People and the Scorching Wind.
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on 10 December 2013
I am so glad that I purchased this book. It is very well written, and the story will move you to tears. I am now reading the second book in this trilogy and it is just as good.

Absolutely worth buying.
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on 2 March 2001
First, I'm unsure as to whether the above review was referring to Seek the Fair Land or The Silent People, though I suspect the latter. Seek the Fair Land is a superbly written novel set in the Cromwell period of Ireland's history. The main character, Dominic, along with a few others, can be latched onto quickly and from a historical viewpoint it stands up solidly. I would strongly recommend this book and am looking forward very much to reading The Silent People:-)
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on 7 April 2012
This is the first of Walter Mackens' incredible Trilogy of books charting Irelands' journey to freedom through the eyes of Her people.

This is a beautiful, terribly sad and amazing book in equal measures.

It is simply told and I dare you to put it down!
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on 14 April 2013
Arrived very quickly, condition good.very reasonable price for its age but pleased to have it as my original copy was borrowed and not returned.
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on 4 January 2013
This book was sent to relative in America and thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that he bought other books in the series.
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on 2 April 2015
I'm almost finished this last book. I found that I quickly connected with the characters and could felt their emotions come through the writing. So glad I revisited this trilogy after such a long time.
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