SEEK THE FAIR LAND by Walter Macken


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There is irony in the title, for Ireland's ""fair land"" was a rapidly shrinking area during the generations when successive English onslaughts laid waste the major part of a once prosperous country, and the Protestant wars, in which Cromwell's forces under the vicious, depraved Lord President of Connaught, Coote, completed the process. The story stems from the massacre of Drogheda, where the three principals come together: Murdoc, the giant from the west highlands where clan wars keep the unrest alive; Dominick, the small trader, who hides Murdoc, aids his escape, and who in turn, when his adored wife is murdered, escapes with two small children- and with Sebastian, a priest, wounded, enfeebled, but with spirit unbroken. Some two years of danger, of hiding, of escape eventually bring the little party to Murdoc's region, where he makes Dominick his liegeman, and gives him land for a house. And still the wars go on; the clans feud; and eventually Coote and his warriors arrive- and Murdoc succumbs and foreswears his religion and takes oath to Parliament. His people fade away from him; Sebastian and other fugitive priests hold them together; and Murdoc lives almost alone, hated and half mad. It is an adventure story against a little known period and background. And the telling has the Irish lilt and poetry and drama, characteristic of Walter Macken's earlier- half fey- writings.

Pub Date: July 28th, 1959
Publisher: Macmillan