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'Magpie Warrior' transports readers

'Magpie Warrior' transports readers

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“Magpie Warrior: The Magpie

Odyssey IV”

Author: Lorretta Lynde

Publisher: IUniverse

Montana author Lorretta Lynde returns to the magic of Ireland and the mysteries of American Indian culture in “Magpie Warrior.”

The book casts its own spell as Andrew Finnegan grows increasingly worried when he loses telepathic contact with his Aunt Eibhlin.

The two have been linked since his family was brutally murdered in Northern Ireland when he was only 8.

She takes Andrew in and works hard to break the silence created by his shock and grief while hiding him in case the murderers try to kill him, too.

The wildlands around Eibhlin's isolated home become a place of healing and teaching for the lad. He helps her gather plants for her herbal potions and eventually learns to open his mind to receive her messages.

That link remains even after he takes up residence amid the Crow Indians and legendary Little People in the Bighorn Mountains. Until the communication suddenly stops.

Andrew; his wife, Colleen; and great-niece Aisling, return to Ireland in search of Eibhlin. And danger.

Even after decades, some seek his death.

The journey is more than a hunt for Eibhlin. Lynde spins out the tale of Andrew's youth, his time spent with the Travellers and the mysterious turns as he ages in a country torn by sectarian strife.

The boy bonds with a wolf that visits him, although Ireland has long been without the beasts. He meets an American Indian spiritual guide even though he's an ocean away.

And he is imbued with an incredible speed and a growing ability at self-defense, learned from one of the Travellers.

Some of the most interesting parts of the book come in the Travellers' camp as Andrew and the others listen to the old storyteller, Niall, weaving his spell around the campfire:

“He took another long pull on his pipe, looking around at the faces of his audience. He could see that adults and children alike were caught up in his tale. After pausing a few more secords for effect, he continued ...”

Lynde creates a scene so real that the reader, too, feels that pause of anticipation and captivation at the morality lesson at hand.

The novel moves backward and forward in time, as Andrew's hunt carries him, Colleen and Aisling into secrets of the past that influence the dangers of today.

Lynde's use of characters presents both sides of the bloody splits that have marked Irish history for centuries.

The reader gains better understanding of just what the battles for independence have cost the island and the lingering sentiments that affect the nation to this day.

She again draws strong parallels between the beliefs of the Crow and those that the Irish have blended with Christianity. And the appreciation for a variety of cultures is heightened.

The book takes readers on a journey of their own, challenging beliefs and letting them open themselves to possibilities.

Lynde again transports her audience to a world of ancient lessons entwined with the modern world as we ponder how violence takes its toll both on victim and assailant.

The climax is surprising and reveals much about Andrew's past and his character.

And Lynde lays the groundwork for continuing this intriguing series.

Contact Chris Rubich at crubich@billingsgazette.com or 657-1301.

Contact Chris Rubich at crubich@billingsgazette.com or 657-1301.

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