Eclipse of the Sun

by Michael C. O'Brien

  General / Favorable Reviews
  Critical Reviews

"The horrors in O'Brien's novel are frightening not merely because of his suspense-charged, page-turning apocalyptic plot, but because the instruments of coercion he describes are already largely in place. Interweaving moments of profound consolation and ultimate spiritual hope, as in his scintillating Father Elijah, O'Brien is revealed as a novelist of penetrating spiritual insight and prophetic clarity."

- David Lyle Jeffrey, Author, People of the Book

"The sweet, lyrical and faithful voice of Michael O'Brien is perhaps the truest and finest in contemporary fiction. I searched for a very long time before finding a novel as vital as Father Elijah. I thought that such an achievement could not be repeated. It has with Eclipse of the Sun."

- Michael Coren, Author, Columnist, Radio Host




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  An outstanding conclusion to a great series *****

"Eclipse of the Sun", Michael O'Brien's third novel in the trilogy which began with "Strangers and Sojourners" and continued with "Plague Journal" is an outstanding conclusion to this excellent series. It picks up from where "Plague Journal" leaves off, but from a different perspective. Fortunately there are enough characters which appear in all three novels, allowing for a more or less seamless transition of perspective.

O'Brien continues his tale of the Delaney family and their friends and acquaintances and their trials and tribulations at the turning of the 21st century in British Colombia. There are two main themes: One theme concerns the eschatological prophecies in the book of Revelation, and their relevance to the dawning of the 21st century. The other theme concerns the quiet evaporation of personal and civil liberties which have been gradually occurring in the Western "democracies". These themes are knit so closely together, one is not always sure whether Revelation is a vehicle for O'Brien's political concerns or whether O'Brien's political concerns are a vehicle for his eschatological theories.

Regardless of which it is, the reader will have a difficult time putting this book down.

O'Brien's deeply held Catholicism shines forth brightly in this book -- and frankly, it is refreshing. It is unusual in this day and age for a Catholic to write "End-Times" novels -- such is usually the provence of fundamentalists (who usually hate the Church). His Catholicism is traditional, conservative and uncompromising, yet very human and full of compassion. The religious one meets in his books (including this one) are the very sort that one wishes there were more of! (In my experience, as someone raised in a traditional Anglican background, one of the major reasons that Catholicism has not made the inroads into my former denomination that it could make is due to the progressive hogwash that all too frequently passes for Catholicism in North America. A few more priests like Father Andrei, and a few more bishops like the Archbishop of Vancouver in "Eclipse" would go a long way in attracting converts from a slowing dying Anglicanism. But I digress)

For me, this book rates 4.25 stars. 5 for story content, and 3.5 for character development. One flaw in the book (or perhaps it's merely a flaw in my personal taste) is O'Brien's tendency to develop a character, then suddenly drop them, never to be seen again. He also does not, to my way of thinking, always sufficiently explain how a character develops from when he/she is first presented to how he/she ends up. One is left wondering why such and such a character changed so radically.

Finally, this book shows an interesting respect for conservative, yet non-Catholic clergy. O'Brien is not nearly as hard on his "separated brethren" as many conservative Catholics tend to be. And he is equally hard on liberal Catholics as he is on liberal Protestants.

I would very much like to meet Mr. O'Brien some day. I have enjoyed his novels; I have enjoyed his non-fiction; I appreciate and respect his faith; (and I have an enormous respect for his understanding of JRR Tolkien). I know a wonderful Irish pub where we could light up the pipes, raise a pint or two, and discuss literature and theology for hours on end.

-David Zampino "21st Century Hobbit"



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