Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Beck Valley Book Tour - The Prodigal by Michael Hurley

An Adventure Awaits

The naturalistic call to the sea is embodied within Michael Hurley's gift of The Prodigal. Much like the sea that Hurley writes about, it is deep and mystical and will carry you easily into the world he has created. You will find yourself immersed, I know I did. I started studying the Bible when I was a young lady, in my early twenties. So, I was naturally drawn toward the scriptures and Hurley's depiction of faith and questioning our beliefs. I've also always had a love of the ocean. Reading the poetry within the author's ability to put his readers in the moment, and utilize our senses so that we can recall how the salt air tastes and how it feels, it's a real escape from our realities.

Overall, I give The Prodigal 5 out of 5 stars. When reading this I kept thinking of Jane Austen, not in comparison, rather a phrase she would use - how characters would "make love to us all" because they have a gift of speaking that draws us toward them. Much like Hurley, his intoxicating writing technique and eloquent style, you quickly realize that you are reading a master at his craft. 

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Book Synopsis Provided by Beck Valley Books

For 2,000 years, Christendom has believed that fail and penitence are the narrow gates through which all who seek heaven must pass, and that the church on Earth holds the key. What if a forgotten relic, hidden inside an abandoned ship thought to have been lost at sea more than a century ago, suddenly reappeared and cast doubt on that belief? Who would seek to use it? Who would seek to destroy it? And whose lives would it forever change?
This sweeping allegorical tale begins with the escape of a Gypsy princess and her young lover from her father's camp in 1851, recalling the flight of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The boy steals Prodigal, a sailing ship blessed with unnatural speed, and the lovers escape to sea, leaving the father to grieve for the loss and pine for the return of his child.
More than 150 years later on Ocracoke Island we meet Aidan Sharpe, an aging lawyer, as he rises from the sand of a remote beach after a lost weekend. In a strange foreboding, one woman gives him wine and another gives him water just as his world is about to be consumed by scandal. While struggling to rebuild his life in this lonely outpost of the Outer Banks, Aidan is caught up in a two-thousand-year-old mystery that unfolds with the sudden reappearance of Prodigal off the coast, adrift and unmanned. Its discovery will lead Aidan and those close to him into the deep, in a race between time and eternity.

"Stirring, romantic, and evocative of the sea's magic." - Kirkus Reviews

"An intriguing, well-plotted, and multi-layered novel. The supernatural elements--a religious relic, a gypsy woman out of legend--are thoughtfully handled. Hurley writes beautifully, especially when depicting island and nautical life." - Kirkus Reviews

"Hurley's eloquent, hypnotic style will have readers following, unquestioningly, to the very end. The Prodigal is a masterpiece of artistic imagination and fluid strokes of the pen. Intelligently and eloquently written, this story--where past and present meet, where one man and those near him learn to inhale life, and where wonderful and unexplained things cab be accepted only by faith--is a powerful first novel by Michael Hurley" - ForeWord Clarion Review

Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live in Raleigh, North Carolina. Born in Baltimore in 1958, he holds a degree in English education from the University of Maryland and a law degree from St. Louis University. His first book, Letter from the Woods, was a collection of essays compiled from eight years of wilderness canoeing expeditions with his children. It was a finalist for the Book of the Year Award by ForeWord magazine in 2005. In April 2013 Hachette Book Group published his memoir, Once Upon a Gypsy Moon. The Prodigal is his first novel.

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