Tiernan’s Wake, by multi-award winning author Richard T. Rook, is scheduled to be published in early 2018. This light contemporary mystery follows two genealogists, one from Boston and the other from Ireland, who combine forces to unravel the past in order to solve the mystery of a missing painting. Did I mention pirates? Audio Arcadia | 2018 | Audio & eBook
Michael Tiernan is a successful but burned-out attorney in Boston. He’s been devoting more and more time to his passion of genealogy, collecting documents on his family’s Irish lineage. He’s not a broken man but he is on the cusp of rethinking his life. The floor drops from beneath him when his best friend and fellow attorney Glenn is diagnosed with a possibly inoperable tumor. On the same day of this distressing news, a mysterious package arrives bearing a curious red shamrock on the outside.
The package, containing thousands of dollars and an inviting note, is from Aedan Burns, an old historian in Ireland. Michael had come to Aedan’s attention as a fellow genealogist and one who might have a large amount of documentation on a very particular subject, a particular lineage Aedan is studying. Aedan asks Michael to visit, along with Michael’s wife, to help take part in a historical mystery. They would only have to come to Ireland to hear him out, no strings attached. They do and accept his offer of partnership. With the amount of money Aedan was offering, they couldn’t turn it down even if they wouldn’t be of much help. And Michael begins by contributing his own set of documents.
The mystery has to do with a notorious female pirate of Ireland: Grace O’Malley, a red-headed terror on the high seas. Aedan claims to be a descendant and the information Michael has on a certain lineage could lead to a rumored painting of Grace, one that has never been recovered nor even seen. Accepting nearly half a million for a partnership, Michael and his wife Sara begin to look for clues on missing relations, changed names, and secrets hidden.
While Michael digs deep and makes exciting discoveries, there is more than just the mystery of the pirate that he seeks. Aedan himself is an enigma and Michael is certain there is a mystery to be solved involving Aedan and his perplexing decision to invite Michael and his wife along on his journey. Why was Michael chosen? Couldn’t Aedan Burns, the great historian, have found out the same information he had compiled over the years? Being a problem solver and natural investigator, he comes up with the answer on his own.
Along the journey, Michael and others grapple with the Glenn’s deteriorating condition, Sherlock Holmes and French pirate Jean de Clisson are summoned from beyond the grave, World War II Codebreakers send a message to the future through intriguing photos, long-lost relatives are discovered, and a lesson in art history saves the day. Throughout it all, Irish spirituality, lore, and legend permeate as the fluid backbone of the story, seeping through the pages with a greenish hue (self imagined). And if the title (and locale) instantly reminds you of Finnegans Wake, you’d be right in expecting a reference or two.
Tiernan’s Wake is more than just a genealogical mystery. There are five people who are at a crossroads in life: Michael who is burned out and fearing a life without Glenn, Glenn who may be at the end of his life with nothing to show for it, Sara (Michael’s wife) has a dark secret, Anna (Michael and Glenn’s long-time secretary) has a hidden past with deep scars that she’s refused to face, and Aedan (the mysterious benefactor) sees longingly how his life could have been. Both the genealogy project and Glenn’s brush with death force our main players to deal with their issues in the most human way possible: with each other.
High-brow and sophisticated, Tiernan’s Wake is an intelligent yet lighthearted mystery with the added appeal of academia. In the same vein of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series, the reader goes on a historical adventure while remaining grounded in the present through history lessons and captivating tidbits of information on theology, symbology, art, and more. Make sure to keep an eye out for this one in 2018!
Did I mention pirates?
by Richard T. Rook