Billy'O Lost in the Promised Land Book Iby John Sheehan
Billy’O - Lost in the Promised Land - Book One, is the first volume of a four part coming of age story about Billy O’Shea, a teenage survivor of the Irish Famine. The continuing auto-biography of Billy O’Shea spans almost thirty years, from the age of thirteen at the time of the Irish Famine to the California Gold Rush and through to Billy… See more details below
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Billy’O - Lost in the Promised Land - Book One, is the first volume of a four part coming of age story about Billy O’Shea, a teenage survivor of the Irish Famine. The continuing auto-biography of Billy O’Shea spans almost thirty years, from the age of thirteen at the time of the Irish Famine to the California Gold Rush and through to Billy O’Shea’s heroic exploits during the blood stained years of the American Civil War.
The story begins as Billy O’Shea and his family are evicted from their home during the Great Irish Famine and struggle to survive the winter of 1846-47 on the road. Billy and his family manage to survive the long, perilous journey aboard a coffin ship to Boston in the spring of 1847. Upon arrival in America, Billy becomes estranged from his family and strikes out on his own. He forms a close bond of friendship with an Irish gang leader from Fort Hill named Jason Brody, who soon leads him into trouble. Billy returns to his family to take his little brother under wing but his mother refuses to allow him to take his brother to Fort Hill.
A family tragedy sends Billy off on a journey to the fishing villages of coastal Maine where he finds sanctuary and a welcoming new family of fishermen on a remote island in Casco Bay. He becomes smitten with a feisty Irish girl who has no use for boys. Billy struggles to come to grips with his first romantic crush and the pains of unrequited love while training to become a fisherman. A storm at sea leads Billy back to the streets of Boston. Penniless and angry, Billy commits a desperate act that will have consequences that alter the course of his life.
Reunited with his Irish friend from Fort Hill, Billy and Jason leave Boston to seek their fortune in gold out in California. In Pittsburgh, at the start of their long journey to California, Billy must get in the ring as a prize fighter at the behest of his friend in order to win the pot to pay for their travel fare to California. The fight concludes with unexpected results.
By the conclusion of Book I, Billy arrives in St. Louis. He is penniless and in need of food and a place to sleep. He is drawn into perpetrating a robbery with his companions that becomes violent and destroys the life of an innocent man. Billy abandons his friends and seeks a way to return east at the conclusion of Part One.
All four volumes of the Billy’O story are complete novels in themselves connected by the narrative thread that carries you through the events of American History and the Irish contribution to the building of America.
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