Dark McLean is in a terrifying race to find a cure for the mystery illness that is rapidly killing his uncle. Shadowed at every turn by a sinister neighbour, his courage and friends start to fail him. In desperation he returns to a forbidden fairy fort where he crosses into the ancient realm of Fionn Mac Cumhaill. There Dark learns of Matha, a young man who is on a weirdly similar quest to his own.
As Dark gets sucked into robbery, hacking hospital records and talking to birds, Matha’s doomed mission is obstructed by bewitched cats, disgruntled warriors and unhelpful herons. Time is running out and Dark slowly comes to understand the truth of his uncle’s words: ‘They walk among us.’
Comments on O’Neill’s previous title: Old Friends: The Lost Tales of Fionn Mac Cumhaill
‘Tom O’Neill brings hundreds of heroes, villains, and fabulous creatures to us in a tour de force of story telling.’ – Gemma Hussey, former Minister for Education
‘There is nothing implausible about the emotions that course through these latter-day folktales that bring LED lighting to fairy raths; no false notes dim their sense of loss and betrayal or, indeed, O’Neill’s idiomatic style. This is a book straight from the oral tradition – it would sparkle if read aloud.’ – Mary Shine Thompson, The Irish Times
Tom O’Neill was brought up in a farming family in County Carlow. He worked as a science teacher trainer in Southern Africa and later developed online education. Since his return to Ireland he has farmed in County Kilkenny and restored Killahara Castle in Tipperary. He has always written. When he helped his father publish a social history he was reconnected with stories and beliefs that were still vibrant in his own childhood and which resonated with his experience in Africa. This resulted in the coming together of his tales of Dark and Fionn Mac Cumhaill. He previously published: Old Friends: The Lost Tales of Fionn Mac Cumhaill (Little Island Books).