Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Prodigal - A Literary Masterpiece

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The Prodigal

For 2,000 years, Christendom has believed that faith 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.


This is one of the best books I've read in years if not the best.  The Prodigal is destined to become a classic.  I don't even know how to put into words how I truly feel about this book.  It's like walking into a room, and realizing that you are in the presence of greatness.  It isn't just a work of fiction to be enjoyed.  It is a stirring, thought provoking tale that will cause you to think about your own life and beliefs.  It is a story with a message and lessons that we need to learn.

Hurley does a superb job with characterization, and mesmerizing the reader.  He combines his love of law, the sea, Catholicism, and the simpler life to weave this tale.  He reminds me of some of the great writers - Hemmingway, Austen, Dickens, etc.  His style is not the same, but it is still a literary masterpiece.  

I have to admit that at first I was a little hesitant about this book.  I was not sure where he was going with the book, and how everything would fit together.  Once I got past the first couple of chapters, I was hooked.  I couldn't put the book down.  I was under Hurley's spell.  One that, I was happy to be under.  I was captivated.  It made me take another look at my life and my beliefs.

While I know that this book will not resonate with all readers, there is no mistaking that this is a literary masterpiece.  Adults will enjoy this much more than students and younger generations.  Most students do not have the life experiences to connect with the story that adults have. 

I definitely rate this 5 stars out of 5.  I would give it more if I could.  I strongly urge you to pick up this book and read it.  You will not regret reading it, or the impact it might have on your life.

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About the Author
Michael Hurley and his wife Susan lives 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, Letters 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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I received a free copy of this book from Beck Valley Books in exchange for a review; however, all views and opinions are 100% mine.


  1. I can't wait to get around to reading this one !

  2. I've heard about this book, but haven't gotten a chance to grab it yet, but it's on my wishlist, and your review assured me that I should get it soon.