new novel by
always took him the odd moment or two to get his bearings. Sometimes
when he first awoke...he found himself back with the Franciscans,
in that long, narrow, high-ceilinged room with the other orphans...."
The Garden of Martyrs
He awoke in the small hours of morning, in that slippery,
blue-black territory between night and day, when a man's heart
can fail him utterly. In the bunk next to his, Daley was snoring
away. It always amazed him how soundly the fellow slept, as
untroubled as the sleep of a child with a full belly. Occasionally
Daley might call out something. Finola, he'd say,
where are me shoes? But he hardly ever roused himself
into consciousness, didn't so much as turn over. He woke in
the same position he went to sleep in, on his back, hands
locked behind his head.
had trouble sleeping. His mind swirling with thoughts and
images, half-recalled songs from home, scraps from a life
which seemed as unreal, as distant as the moon. And when he
did manage finally to fall asleep, it felt as if he were falling,
plunging into black space. His dreams were tangled affairs
from which he woke thrashing and fighting as if trying to
free himself from a net made of sorrow.
always took him the odd moment or two to get his bearings.
Sometimes when he first woke, especially in the dark, he found
himself back with the Franciscans, in that long, narrow, high-ceilinged
room with the other orphans, old Brother Padraig passing among
their beds, rousing them with his rough hands to morning devotions
and chores. Other times he believed himself to be in the stables
of some gentleman in whose employ he'd been, the reassuring
snorting and snuffling of the horses in their nearby stalls
gently stirring him. But other times, the worst by far, he
thought himself in that quiet, secluded place among the willow
and pine trees, lying on the soft cool moss that grew along
the mountain stream. It was there he used to meet a young
girl with raven-colored hair and eyes dark and luminous as
opals. In the treachery of those first few moments between
sleep and waking, he was teased into believing she was lying
beside him, her presence so palpable, so unmistakable, he
could almost feel the velvety down along her cheek and the
smooth thrill of her thighs, could smell the apple fragrance
of her hair. In the darkness, he would whisper, Bridie,
and then again, Bridie. But when he reached out to
touch her, the only thing his hand came into contact with
was the cold stone wall of his cell.
Want to read more of Soulcatcher or The Garden
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C. White, author of Soulcatcher,
released in October 2007 is author of A Brother's Blood
(Harper Collins), a NY Times Book Review Notable
Book of 1996 as well as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New
Writers Selection explores issues of assimilation and injustice
in The Garden of Martyrs (St. Martin's Press).
If you are looking for imaginatively drawn historical figures,
The Garden of Martyrs evokes troubled times and Michael
C. White writes his characters in an elegant and leisurely
manner, rendering dialect and idiomatic phrases with intuitive
skill. This story unveils strong New England sociopolitical
mysteries (the motif here is cultural assimilation and the inherent
injustice) much in the way that a shy Irish bride opens her
heart: with passion, longing, and trepidation. Fans of historical
novels, especially those touching on the Irish "troubles"
and juxtaposed with the French Revolution, will gather around
the New England lamp light and be thrilled to acquaint themselves
with White's newest and most engaging work of fiction. --Editor's