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Posted: September 27, 2020

An accomplished first novel

Book Review

By Derryll White

McTiernan, Dervla (2018).  The Ruin.

Dervla McTiernan is Irish and this, her first novel, is an Irish story.

Her opening note states: “The title of my book can be read in English, or can be given its Irish meaning. In Irish, Rúin means something hidden, a mystery, or a secret, but the word also has a long history as a term of endearment.”

McTiernan is accomplished in bringing the social conditions of Ireland to the fore. She reaches back 25 years very naturally, without making the story read like an historical novel.

This is a very accomplished first novel. Some things are perhaps a little more complicated than they needed to be, but McTiernan works it all out in the end. As I read ‘The Ruin,’ at some point I began to think that this story, and the character Detective Cormac Reilly, were too good to leave alone. The character deserved a series. I was delighted to find out at the end that Dervla McTiernan was already at work on the next Cormac Reilly novel.

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Excerpt from the novel:

IRELAND – How much of his views about Catholic Ireland had been formed by the outpouring of stories of abuse over the past ten years, from the Magdalene Laundries to Brendan Smyth?  Had he felt the same way – suspicious of all things religious – back in the nineties?  He honestly couldn’t remember.

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org.


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