Clans and Castles

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
440 Pages
Reviewed on 07/28/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Checkmate: Clans and Castles by P.M. Terrell is a spellbinding novel that captures a historic moment in Irish history in the early 17th century, exploring the adventures of William Neely, who came to Ireland from Scotland in 1608 in the hope of fighting in King James's army. As a young man, William Neely is seeking a place for himself in the world, but suddenly finds himself embroiled in the Cahir O'Doherty (the last Gaelic Irish King) rebellion. William discovers that he is of Ulster origins and he becomes torn between fighting against King James or for Ireland. His decision could change everything. Here is a tantalizing historical novel that plunges the reader into what life was like in Ireland at a period when powerful chieftains rose against each other, a captivating story with relevant historical and cultural references; it is the first book in the Checkmate series, and a great opening at that.

What immediately arrested my attention was the power of the prose. From the very beginning of the story, the reader is treated to gorgeous descriptions of the setting and the characters: “The winds were fervent across the Irish Sea, pushing the waves into the shoreline with uncharacteristic intensity, stopped only by the jagged rock below before misting William Neely.” The narrative is lyrical and the voice is irresistible. Yes, the prose sings in the reader’s ears like beautiful music and it is peppered with wonderful dialogues, which are well-composed to read naturally and to deepen the plot and conflict. P.M. Terrell’s characters are wonderfully developed and readers will love them. There is a lot of drama taking place throughout the narrative and the action is intense and unrelenting. Checkmate: Clans and Castles is a gripping treat for fans of historical novels, a well-crafted, not-easy-to-put-down story that will transport the reader into a turbulent period in Irish history.