Excellent, excellent, excellent! Don't let the page count daunt you--this is an amazingly fast read. While this is an end-times book with a decidedly Catholic flavor, all Christians and even secular civil libertarians will find it to be an edifying (and sobering) read. Basically, it is the story of a "creeping totalitarianism" that is engulfing North America and the few heroic (mostly Catholic and Evangelical) souls who recognize it and attempt to resist, especially when they discover that it is NOT happening by accident.... Although O'Brien says (I'm paraphrasing) that the novel has a "near future" setting, it has a disturbing "today's headlines" feel. This is well-done Catholic Christian literature, and as such it is not afraid to name names and identify the evils of our time: rampant consumerism, globalism, the New Age infection of orthodox Christianity (and its globalist ties), television, degenerate "art" calculated to destroy the sense of the sacred, the deliberate harassment of the devoutly religious, the annihilation of due process--the list goes on and on. In short, EOTS grippingly depicts the fall of night on Western civilization. The struggle against the darkness of sometimes uneasy coalitions of believers in Christ (and other people of good will) sustained by the grace of God makes for an inspiring cautionary tale.
Michael O'Brien's "Eclipse of the Sun" is a roller coaster of books! It's the Indiana Jones of epics. Open the book, and you are hooked. This will keep your heart racing and your fingers turning pages. But don't mistake it for a fluff novel--this is the meat and potatoes of our times. Read the book. Recognize today's headlines? This book will challenge you to reflect on your own life, your community, nation and world. I have read three of the Children of the Last Days series, and I would recommend this as the first to be read. It is gripping. It will introduce you to the characters in O'Brien's other books; you will want to read the other books!
It is rare to find a book that inspires. This one does, with a profound grasp of the spiritual struggles of Man, worked out in the fragments of our humanity. God is rarely protrayed in any way reminiscent of the experience of Christians, and O'Brien manages to evoke something of the richness of our own lives graced with the Divine Presence. This book made me pray, made me re-evaluate the preciousness of being a Catholic Priest, and awoke in me that desire for God which I last sensed when a much younger man. This is a novel which takes you back into your own life...and beyond.
You know a movie's a hit when the audience remains sitting while the credits roll. A great novel affects me the same way. I'm silently awed by the gift of a powerful story. Michael O'Brien wowed me with Father Elijah (now available in paperback) and now stuns me with Eclipse of the Sun. In an earlier tale, Strangers and Sojourners, the Delaney family acquired a newspaper in Swiftcreek, British Columbia. The current editor views the growing misuse of Canada's "hate crime" laws with alarm. Since you can't speak ill of anyone, you can't call abortion "murder," you can't expose corruption, and you can't criticize the government. Phony charges send the Delaneys fleeing to the mountains, except for estranged wife Maya and her youngest child Arrow. They live in a commune involved in drug dealing and possibly Satanism. When a secret government militia attacks the camp, Arrow flees, assisted by Father Andrei. This priest survived the Holocaust and recognizes the signs of fascism in the Canadian government. His task is to reunite Arrow with his family. He launches the young boy on an epic journey, both physically and spiritually. The two discover that God is bringing a blessing out of the current oppression. People who never took religion seriously are now wondering why the government seems so threatened by it, especially Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism. They're forced to realize their choices have moral and possibly fatal consequences. Surprising characters choose to die for God rather than capitulate to government intimidation. This novel is rich in characters. In addition to Arrow, one of the most believable young boys I've met in books, and Father Andrei, there are the Wannamakers, suspicious of the media's silence on events they know occured. Their daughter Julie and her family have decided to take a long cruise away from Canada, while the parents opt for a trailer tour of America. Potempko, another old European priest, has lost his parish to "progressive" elements but finds more and more Indians seeking his spiritual advice. Alice, Queen of Junque, claims to be amoral, but she rescues a hydrocephalic child from a government dumpster, and she willingly shelters Arrow. The Potters, Alice's evangelical neighbors, have spent years of love trying to convert Alice only to find themselves in trouble with the law for their charity. A formerly moderate archbishop begins to question the direction of Church "reforms." The villains are mostly faceless, except for Maurice L'Oraison, who loved the first Mrs. Delaney but has sold his soul to escape the poverty and provincialism of Swiftcreek. Father Andrei's struggle to rescue L'Oraison's soul resembles the Grand Inquisitor section in The Brothers Karamazov, a section of philosophy that forces you to think. Like most epics, this is a long book, but I wouldn't cut one page. Kathleen T. Choi, HAWAII CATHOLIC HERALD
This book got me hook, line, and sinker. I am a Canadian living in the States and am from the local where "Eclipse" is set. It hit a special note for me to say the least. The storyline is convincing (which is sad given the state of Canada), the imagery is powerful, and the tone is perfect. If you are a Catholic then this is a must read but even if you are not then this story can give you a lot of things to think about. I won't say anymore about it because its all there waiting to be unfolded. Take the time, it will go quickly I promise you that!!
I am presently somewhat bewildered that a writer of such calibre as Michael O'Brien is not more recognized in the English-speaking world. Content aside, O'Brien's writing craftmanship is such that it ought to place his works in the upper ranks of contemporary fiction. Of all his books, I liked this one best, for has the suspense and story of a Stephen King novel and the wisdom and depth (and yes, even prophetic sense) of Dostoevsky. I hope thousands, even millions more will read this extraordinary novel.
The story is worthy of C.S. Lewis for its spiritual depth, and the quality of the writing nearly as good. Without giving much away, the characterizations of "the old lady and her boys" is one of the most moving and truthful I've ever run across in literature. This is not merely excellent stuff, but inspired.
"Just read 50 pages, that's all I ask...," a friend suggested. I read 50 pages, and couldn't put the book down. I lost sleep reading it. "Eclipse of the Sun" is prophetic in that it examines fictional material in a not-so-distant future of current events. This book is the third in O'Brien's "Children of the Last Days" trilogy/series. O'Brien proves that Catholic fiction is alive and well.
This book is a psychological thriller, an inspirational powerhouse and one heck of a ride all the way through. If you enjoy apocalyptic fiction, you will be in "hog heaven" with this one. Do your heart and soul a favor and read this wonderful book and then do what I did: loan it to, not one, but two friends.