The Prodigal: A Novel

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Pride, betrayal, forgiveness . . . and the eternal sea. The Prodigal tells the mystical tale of four people on Ocracoke Island whose destiny is tied to an abandoned schooner, thought to have been lost at sea more than a century ago, that one day drifts ashore. Marcus O'Reilly, a renegade Catholic priest, must confront his inner demons. Ibrahim Joseph, a Bahamian fugitive, must face his past. Aidan Sharpe, a fallen lawyer, struggles with self-doubt and his growing affection for Molly McGregor, a fearless towboat ...
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The Prodigal

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Overview

Pride, betrayal, forgiveness . . . and the eternal sea. The Prodigal tells the mystical tale of four people on Ocracoke Island whose destiny is tied to an abandoned schooner, thought to have been lost at sea more than a century ago, that one day drifts ashore. Marcus O'Reilly, a renegade Catholic priest, must confront his inner demons. Ibrahim Joseph, a Bahamian fugitive, must face his past. Aidan Sharpe, a fallen lawyer, struggles with self-doubt and his growing affection for Molly McGregor, a fearless towboat captain who cannot find the courage to love. They will all be drawn into a 2,000-year-old mystery that unfolds with the reappearance of the ship.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/26/2013
Aidan Sharpe is a lawyer whose small mistake costs him his career. He goes to Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina to try to regain some sense of self, and meets and rescues a young woman named Molly, and forms a friendship with a priest, Marcus, who struggles with addiction. Marcus discovers a boat, named Cygnet, and the boat's appearance leads him to believe that it may be a legendary ship called the Prodigal. His interest in the ship also attracts the attention of colleagues in the Vatican, who believe the ship may hold a sacred relic. Hurley's novel weaves in many elements of law, sailing, and Roman Catholicism, and ties them together well. While the allegories are a bit heavy-handed and characters are simplistic at times , the author's attention to detail and the pleasures of his well-crafted prose compensate.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781482694277
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/28/2013
  • Pages: 358
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live in Raleigh, North Carolina. Born in Baltimore in 1958, he holds a degree in English education from the University of Maryland, a law degree from St. Louis University, and a captain's license-albeit long-since expired-from the United States Coast Guard. He entered the private practice of law in 1984 and has tried numerous jury cases involving allegations of medical malpractice. He enjoys keeping up with readers and life in general at mchurley.com.

Michael's first book, Letters from the Woods, was a collection of essays, self-published in 2005, based on wilderness canoeing expeditions with his children. It was selected as a finalist in the Nature category for ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year award. In 2013 Hachette Book Group published his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon. The Prodigal is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 12, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    'The Prodigal' Demonstrates the Power of Redemption What do an

    'The Prodigal' Demonstrates the Power of Redemption

    What do an alcoholic priest, a towboat operator, a disgraced lawyer, and a mysterious woman have in common? In The Prodigal by Michael Hurley, the answer is Ocracoke Island. Telling the story of four people trying to come to terms with their inner demons, The Prodigal offers a stunning portrait of human vulnerabilities.




    This book is two really two stories in one, though they blend together seamlessly and come full-circle in the end. The first is about redemption and overcoming past mistakes, for each of the main characters is battling their own demons and mistakes. The second is of a more mythical nature, which centers around Sarah and an ancient ship that the characters stumble upon. It is their quest to find the origins of the boat that sends them down a path of danger, which draws the attention of both a powerful businessman and the Vatican.




    What I liked about this book is that it plot-driven and has fantastic character development. By the end of the book, I was emotionally invested in each of them and was racing through the pages to find out where the boat came from and why these particular people had to find it. It also has a perfect villain, which I find increasingly difficult to come by. What I really love about The Prodigal, however, is the way the author touches on the delicate aspects of human emotion. The feelings of gut-wrenching regret and the sadness of loneliness are emotions that nearly everyone can relate to, and Hurley's writing style allows the reader to truly empathize with the characters. By the end of the book, I had physically experienced a range of human emotions, which is no easy feat.




    If you're looking for a book that is equally driven by character and plot, or want to be consumed by a story, then I recommend The Prodigal.

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  • Posted January 4, 2014

    This was a book about being lost and getting found. I really lik

    This was a book about being lost and getting found. I really liked the Bermuda Triangle like aspect of the book. A ship lost at sea fascinates me. I like to wonder where it went, what it saw, and what other great finds were around. Where was the Schooner for all that time? Each of the people mentioned above are interlaced with the history of this ship, and their futures depend on finding out the truth. I loved the mystery and drama. The characters were great and I wanted to tell Molly not to lose her heart like the ship was lost. I was also drawn to the cover. Who is on the front? I loved that each character had  their own agendas and as the book progressed I started to guess at the mystery and how they were involved. I kept guessing to the end and I hope that there is a sequel. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy to review via the Book Reviewer Yellow Pages and the author, however all opinions are my own.

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  • Posted October 29, 2013

    At the beginning, I had a hard time getting into this book. It t

    At the beginning, I had a hard time getting into this book. It took about 100 pages for me and then another 100 before the real story began. However, once it did, it made up for the previous few hundred pages. All of a sudden things are happening, no more hinting or tip-toeing, we were given front row seats to “Prodigal”. There is very intricate detail throughout which I appreciated and several colorful characters that I absolutely enjoyed.

    Being someone who’s always attracted to misfits or the blatantly honest characters Aidan wasn’t one of those, for me. I found him frustrating right up until the end. He was almost too perfect, though he considered himself flawed but there wasn’t much to back that up in my mind. However, there are several other characters that one can focus on. They are from all sorts of backgrounds, ages and with distinct personalities. Not one mirrored another. Hurley did an amazing job sculpting the secondary characters and I really enjoyed getting to know them even if there were some odd or old-fashioned names like Rowdy and Gaylord. 

    I’d recommend this book for it’s multi-layered nature. What I may like about it, may not be something you would like. I believe there’s enough meat to satisfy whatever you’re craving to find.

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  • Posted October 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Prodigal by Michael Hurley I wanted to read this book becaus

    The Prodigal by Michael Hurley
    I wanted to read this book because it's the story of a boat from very long ago and the front cover looks fabulous. The story line I knew it would keep my interest.
    Story starts out with a lawyer Aidan Sharpe and he's a lawyer but on the outer banks island for a few days. Just drifting around drinking and with his law buddies.
    Upon returning to the mainland and work they discover they are to be in court for a major trial but things don't quite go as planned and we find Aidan back on the island indefinitely. He is able to live with Father Marcus and work around the island doing odd jobs. He and others land a job doing carpentry work at the boatyard til
    a fight breaks out and they get banned. Lots of love scenes and the lure of the island life is abundant.
    Loved the boat racing and all the nautical terms as I live close by to Narragansett Bay and am very familiar with the America's cup and Newport to Bermuda races. Lots of action and adventure-the kind I'd expect off the shores of the outer banks.
    Felt at peace while reading this story and you wonder if they do find their paradise...Loved knowing that the work the author has done is put into his novel-it's all firsthand knowledge. Loved hearing all about the technical side and what comes into play to make it all work.
    I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted October 1, 2013

    Once a high powered attorney Aidan Sharpe, now fallen must pick

    Once a high powered attorney Aidan Sharpe, now fallen must pick up his life. The book starts with Sharpe finding himself on the beach of Ocracoke Island after a night of heavy drinking with no memory of where or even how he ended up there. Think of the questions, the confusion. This man was at the top of his game and lost it all. If anyone needed a wake up call, it was Sharpe and he certainly got it in this book.
    The adventure has already begun as he starts his journey of self awareness, awakening and discovery. One journey that grows throughout the book. I like how his character just builds with each turn of the page. It's a steady growth that has you hooked and wanting to watch him continue his personal quest.
    As he meets people throughout the Island he starts to transform, earning trust, finding love again, creating friendships. This all the while he is trying to restore this ship with history back to 1851 which appeared out of nowhere. It's his new task to get this running for a race .
    Secrets and questions arise leaving you with the thought of wondering -will all this new adventure he's been traveling with destroy him? Or help him grow even more as it continues? Which path will he take if he even takes one? Will he shut down this chance, or take it and keep moving on, growing not just as a person but as a man who truly has more to offer. 
    The events given to Sharpe are slowly tying into the past and you're really intrigued from the first page. The saying the past haunts you really come back in this book, not as haunting but linking, a connection I would say. How much does the present connect to the events in our past? This is a constant growing question in the book.
    I was taken in by the writing, happy to find out this was Michael Hurley;s first novel. It leaves room for so many more to come, and I look forward to it! I have rated this 5/5 stars and recommend it to any book lover.

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  • Posted September 29, 2013

    One of the best books I have read in a long while from page one

    One of the best books I have read in a long while from page one the reader is totally engrossed. The author creates an air of mystery.

    The story revolves around the little town of Ocracoke Island where lawyer Aidan Sharpe is trying to rebuild his life when he meets the local priest father Marcus.

    The reason why I loved this book was that each of the main characters had or were keeping a secret and had to learn to trust love and bind together in order for them all to reach / attain their destiny.

    As he arrives on the island feeling uneasy he is put to work with Ibrahim to work on the boats which fulfills him but is shocked when he is asked to leave.

    Then out of nowhere a mystery boat appears and has history back to 1851. He takes on the task to restore her and race her in a multi million pound race.

    The heartache and emotions you feel as you follow Aidan's journey is unbelievable, the friendship he has to make, the trust he receives from Father Marcus and trying to find love is amazing.

    The gem of this book is the authors history of the mystery ship which appears and the secrets and powers it holds.

    During reading this book you will question your own lifestyle and what is really important is it money, friendship or just to be happy.  Hidden in this book is a message telling you that situations change in your life for a specific reason.

    Writers rarely come along who can get you hooked on their style of wring and knowledge of personal  feelings, which this novelist does and I cannot wait to read more of his work. 

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  • Posted September 25, 2013

    A great read! The Prodigal is a book that makes you think. The b

    A great read! The Prodigal is a book that makes you think. The beginning of the book is a little hard to understand but eventually ties into the rest of the story wonderfully  The main character Aidan Sharp is man who loses everything and ends up on Oracoke Island to find himself amongst people he normally wouldn't associate with. The books then turns into an adventurous one when they must search for a friend, leading them to find the ancient boat The Prodigal. I do love how Hurley writes about the boat and makes so much mystery behind it. After finding the boat the friends have a race against Rowdy Ponteau and his boat, "Invictus." It's a pretty great book once you get down to the real meat of it. The meaning behind the book seems to be about trusting and believing in yourself. I give it 4 stars, only because it really is a great book but pushing past the confusing start can be a little difficult.

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  • Posted September 23, 2013

    Great plot and characters! I experienced just about every emoti

    Great plot and characters!

    I experienced just about every emotion imaginable reading this novel! I can honestly say that the plot that unfolded was nowhere near the story-line I expected when I began out reading was nowhere near what I expected as I began this novel. I was quickly drawn in and engrossed within the lives of the characters in this story.

    The biggest takeaway for me from this book was that no matter who we are and where we are in our lives' journey - we still have room to grow and can often learn from the most unexpected people in our lives. I love the hodge podge community this novel is set in - just about everyone has a history that seems to have taken them to the lowest of the low, but there's hope and a spirit of rejuvenation and rehabilitation.

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  • Posted September 21, 2013

    Not really my genre, I committed to reading The Prodigal but put

    Not really my genre, I committed to reading The Prodigal but put it off as long as I could. That’ll teach me to make assumptions. Once I started to read, I couldn’t put the book down and read it in less than a day!
    Michael Hurley’s beautiful prose continually painted a vivid picture in my mind and drew me deeper and deeper into a story chock full of mystery and magic.
    A well written book that twisted and turned every time I thought I had a good feel for the story,  and it’s characters made me feel as if I could have really known them in my life…or at least would have liked to.
    It was an altogether satisfying read and a book I would recommend.

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  • Posted September 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I am going to start off by saying that if you get confused easil

    I am going to start off by saying that if you get confused easily, it will definitely happen to you in the beginning of this story. The story begins with the disappearance of a stolen ship, which was called The Prodigal. The ship was taken by a young gypsy girl and her lover. They were never seen again. This part of the story takes place in 1851. You then jump ahead to present day 2010, where the character that you are introduced to is Aiden Sharpe. He is a lawyer whose practice is out of Raleigh but he is vacationing on Ocracoke Island. I loved the book's setting because I lived on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for 11 years and was introduced to some, but not all, of the history and mysteries there. 




    When Aiden awakes on the beach after a night of drinking, he finds himself naked and no idea how he even got there. He also realizes that there is a naked woman on the beach with him. Once Aiden comes to he meets up with his friends after getting some wine and clothing from the woman and they head back to the mainland. I was a little lost and confused at this point about the woman and why she was there. 




    You are then taken through Aiden's journey and what leads him to have his law license suspended. This is when he returns to Ocracoke Island to start over. He meets Molly there, and also develops a relationship with a fugitive man. He is also reunited with the naked woman from the beach named Sarah and later introduced to another character that is not at all how he seems named Rowdy.




    In a surprising twist that brings everything together as to why the boat scene is featured in the beginning, the Prodigal is found off of the coast. I found the book a little long but there is a reason for it as the Prodigal is set to go against another known as Invictus. I believe that the message that the author is trying to get across is whether you are lovers that do not have family's blessing or you are in a race that you want to win badly if you want it bad enough you can beat the odds!








    It does not start off as a read that you will easily find yourself wanting to get into because with the first chapter the author uses old English. I was a little afraid that this was going to be how the whole book was written but thankfully it was not. Once you get past the introductory chapters, what the Prodigal is and introduced to Aiden and the other characters, you find the answers to all the mystery questions that you are looking for. I would give this book FOUR STARS because once you get a few chapters in, it really is a great read.

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  • Posted September 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Michael Hurley pens "The Prodigal" in a plot filled wi

    Michael Hurley pens "The Prodigal" in a plot filled with magick and mystery. The author paints a wonderful tale with beautifully crafted love story about The Prodigal which is actually a mysterious ship. With his characters that are well developed, with great chemistry and his creative writing style it was a hard to put down book. Highly recommended for all romance readers.




    This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author which was provided for an honest review.

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  • Posted September 19, 2013

    In what seems like a few brief moments, Aidan Sharpe watches his

    In what seems like a few brief moments, Aidan Sharpe watches his life and then his law career implode and he has no clue as to why. Why is his life unraveling? Why is it that his only real ally left after he tanks an important case by making a junior-attorney move and getting caught, has sent him to Ocracoke Island and Father Marcus?
    An old legend and a historical prophecy are about to bring answers to all of Aidan Hurley’s questions; and give him the real destiny for which he’s been searching – long before that fateful day in the courtroom.
    Michael Hurley has most excellently weaved together a tale of prophecy, history, mystery and romance that extended from 1851 to the present time that drew me in and captured me. It’s difficult to intertwine so many elements of time into one man’s story, and then make it become one woman’s story by introducing Molly McGregor, and still successfully keep the reader involved. Hurley was able to do that.
    From the beginning Hurley takes the reader into Aidan’s life journey and allows us to see that he’s at the pinnacle of a richly rewarding career, yet also questioning what it’s all supposed to mean. When we meet Molly, we know that she is also at some pivotal point in her life because she’s wise to innuendos, she does not put herself in compromising positions and she fears anything happening against her will. The work she does makes her even more intriguing. That the two of them will ever meet is not evident until later.
    I especially like the foreshadowing element in this writing, and the way Hurley sets the town up to be both mystical, but also healing in a way. I felt like the criminal element was out of place, but in my mind that element would not be able to blight the town, or stain it, just because of the mysticism I had built up in my mind of the Island.
    This novel, The Prodigal, is a good read. It’s a great rainy day, sofa sitting, and Irish coffee; don’t interrupt me, kind of novel. Don’t hesitate to grab a copy.

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  • Posted September 18, 2013

    I had been warned that the beginning was a little slow. I have t

    I had been warned that the beginning was a little slow. I have to agree, but that is not saying it was bad. It was necessary background information and while I don’t feel “slow” would describe how I felt, I would say that it was as enticing as the rest of the story.

    One of my favorite things about reading is when the author is so detailed and descriptive that you can see everything, feel everything, and can put you right into the stories with the characters. That is exactly how I felt with The Prodigal! I could visualize everything and feel myself being right there, a part of the story.

    This was a great story – one that I can see reading again!

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  • Posted September 16, 2013

    While this book was not my typical type of book to read, I am gl

    While this book was not my typical type of book to read, I am glad I decided to give it a try. It pulls you in right from the first pages with a young couple running so they could be together. They steal a ship and head off to an island. It quickly changes to a modern time with a lawyer that loses everything and ends up living on the same island. I love how it ties the past and present together with the ship. The details of the scenes were so descriptive that you could see exactly what the author wanted you to see. Michael Hurley did a great job, I read this book in two days because I was unable to put it down.

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  • Posted September 14, 2013

    Exceptionally well written What is there to say about The Prodig

    Exceptionally well written
    What is there to say about The Prodigal by Michael Hurley other than  from the start and page after page, the story is being told with a poetic nuance while details makes us see every scene and sometimes even feel them. In the first part of the book, Aidan Sharps’ life is told briefly up until he reaches Ocracoke Island. He is on the beach and from thereon mystery begins as Michael Hurley introduces all the characters leaving the reader helpless but to just go with his flow, curious and devouring every sentence as they are read in silence. 




    I really liked Father Marcus O’Reilly because of his outlook with his congregation. I also liked the way he needed to give shelter (Bel Sogno) to Sarah. Who is Sarah? The mystery and the sea was all I could conjure as I kept reading with some temptation to check out the last few pages… but didn’t.




    If readers like adventure with history, as I do, then, reading about the discovery of The Prodigal or its return making the novel more interesting since it thus explain that mysterious attraction to the sea from Marcus and Aidan (who enters a boat race).




    What I liked also were also the in-depth emotion from the characters as they uncovered facts or myths, it wasn’t sure from my point of view. 




    It is definitely a good read and a story many will give out their different version of how it really ends, should end or might have ended if… I truly recommend it. And, I can see many readers re-reading this novel just to see if they may have missed something.

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  • Posted September 1, 2013

    This book was a bit hard to review for me, because I kept having

    This book was a bit hard to review for me, because I kept having ups and downs in my opinon.

    The story circles around our main character - Aidan, who loses his job as lawyer and is forced to go live and work oon a small island. The books goes with a slow start after revieling something like a little tale before the first chapters, leaving you to wonder how this will fit in the rest of the story.
    I don't mind slow starts. Not that I am a fan of them, but I know well enough that a real gem of a story can be hidden later in the pages. This was the case here. The book slightly bored me for the first about 100 pages, even of the authors style was beautiful, realistic and like painting a picture. It all made it a nice read and helped me going. Things changed suddenly after the episode with the bar fight, when my interest to the story was reborn once again and didn't leave me till the last page.
    My heart grow warm to many of the characters, and especially to what I started to call the Crew - the four ones on the board of the Prodigal. Aidan, Molly, Marcus, Ibrahim - I loved them all and I felt for them through every page.
    I loved how the different storylines enterwined, I enjoyed the blooming love between Aidan and Molly, the humour is some of the dialogs and the characters of almost everyone. But what I loved the most was that the book gives you the chance to choose - if there was a magic and miravles behind all that happens or not. I love sotrylines that go on the edge like this. Also, the use of the legends and tales was great and captivating. The mystery surrounding the boat was beautiful and well developped.
    However, there were at the same time many things that annoyed me, apart from the slow beginning (if it wasn't only for it, I wouldn't drop the rating)
    -this is a book about sailing, and it is great! But I felt the need of some underline notes. I know some total basics like a nautical mile, but other terms left me wondering. It wasn't a problem to grasp the whole of the story, but still annoying. I think I wouldn't be the only reader who'd feel like this. I know many people don't like sidenotes, but they are easy to skip, and yet very useful if you decide to go through them after all.
    -the Vatican. It is just with sooo many books in the later years that go with a Da-Vinci-code like conspiracies, that when this came up in the book, I started eye rolling. Thankfully, it didn't become a main part of the story lines, but it could have been left on the level of the "battle of the ships", without adding an extra spice. Because, as I said, I loved the use of the legends! I was even hoping for more of it.
    -the death of one of the characters. It just saddned me so, and I rate books on how I feel.I felt a bit better after the "return from death" of another character, but even so.

    To wrap it all in the end - it is a beautiful story. It has love subplots, but is not a romance novel. It talks about faith and finding yourself and finding a home and place to go back to, but is not a book of the type "Change your life (in 9000 easy steps)" - that I hate by the way. It has real adventure and great mystery and I can say I enjoyed it a lot. If you don't mind the points listed above and don't see them like flaws, you'd like the book even more than me.

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  • Posted July 22, 2013

    I received a copy from the author in exchange for my review. Thi

    I received a copy from the author in exchange for my review.
    This book was a little outside my normal reading zone but I grew up in and around the Outer Banks of North Carolina, so I tend to want to read the books that talk about the islands.
    The first part of the book was a little slow for me and I did have my doubts about finishing it but I don’t like to do that. The lovers running away gripped me because I know what it is like to have everyone against the love that you have found. I was a little confused in the beginning with the writing style but it was clearer as I moved through the story.
    When Michael describes Ocracoke Island, I am enthralled because that is how I saw it growing up. I loved the deepth of the characters and the way they brought a new and challenging aspect to Aiden’s life. I can only imagine how hard it was to go from a killer in a courtroom to starting over as a boat hand.
    I am not a sailor or a fan of boats so most of the talk of boats wasn’t my thing. However, it is all beautiful described and plays a crucial part in the development of Aiden. This is a book that I would recommend for those who want a story with fantasy, love a good sailing story, a touch of religion and a man that surprises us all.

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