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From the acclaimed author who enthralled the world with Exodus, Battle Cry, QB VII, Topaz, and other beloved classics of twentieth-century fiction comes a sweeping and powerful epic adventure that captures the "terrible beauty" of Ireland during its long and bloody struggle for freedom. It is the electrifying story of an idealistic young Catholic rebel and the valiant and beautiful Protestant girl who defied her heritage to join his cause. It is a tale of love and danger, of triumph at an unthinkable cost — a ...
From the acclaimed author who enthralled the world with Exodus, Battle Cry, QB VII, Topaz, and other beloved classics of twentieth-century fiction comes a sweeping and powerful epic adventure that captures the "terrible beauty" of Ireland during its long and bloody struggle for freedom. It is the electrifying story of an idealistic young Catholic rebel and the valiant and beautiful Protestant girl who defied her heritage to join his cause. It is a tale of love and danger, of triumph at an unthinkable cost — a magnificent portrait of a people divided by class, faith, and prejudice — an unforgettable saga of the fires that devastated a majestic land . . . and the unquenchable flames that burn in the human heart.
I recall with utter clarity the first great shock of my life. A scream came from the cottage next door. I rushed into the room, as familiar as my own home. The Larkin kids, Conor, Liam and Brigid, all hovered about the alcove in which a mattress of bog fir bedded old Kilty. They stood in gape-mouthed awe.
I stole up next to Conor. "Grandfar is dead," he said.
Their ma, Finola, who was eight months pregnant, knelt with her head pressed against the old man's heart. It was my very first sight of a dead person. He was a waxy, bony specimen lying there with his open mouth showing no teeth at all and his glazed eyes staring up at me and me staring back until I felt my own ready to pop out of their sockets.
Oh, it was a terrible moment of revelation for me. All of us kids thought old Kilty had the magic of the fairies and would live forever, a tale fortified by the fact that he was the oldest survivor of the great famine, to say nothing of being a hero of the Fenian Rising of '67 who had been jailed and fearfully tortured for his efforts.
I was eleven years old at that moment. Kilty had been daft as long as I could recall, always huddled near the fire mumbling incoherently. He was an ancient old dear, ancient beyond age, but nobody ever gave seriousconsideration to the fact he might die.
Little Brigid began to weep.
"Hush!" her ma said sharply. "You'll not do any crying until Grandfar has been properly prepared. The house has been surrounded by fairies just waiting to pounce and your weeping will encourage them to break in and snatch his soul from us."
Finola struggled to her feet, going into a flurry of activity. She flung open the windows and doors to let the evil spirits out and quickly covered the mirror to hide his image.
"Liam, you be telling the news. Be sure to go to the byres and the beehives and let the cattle and bees know that Kilty Larkin is gone. Don't fail or the fairies will take his soul." She wrung her hands and sorrowed. "Oh, Kilty, Kilty, it was a good man you were." And then she turned to me. "Seamus!"
"Yes, ma'am," I answered.
"Get to your ma. I'll need her good hands to help lay him out. Conor!"
Conor didn't respond, just looking on at his grandfather. She joggled him by the shoulder. "Conor!"
"Go up to the bog and get your daddy."
Brigid had fallen to her knees and was crossing herself at a furious pace. "Off your knees and be helping me, Brigid," Finola commanded, for the corpse was a woman's work.
Liam bolted first into their own byre. I could see him through the half door speaking to the Larkin cows as Conor backed away from the alcove slowly, his eyes never leaving his grandfather.
Outside, I punched him lightly on the arm. "Hey, if you come to my house first, I'll go to the bog with you to fetch your daddy." We scampered over the stone wall which separated our cottages. My own ma, Mairead O'Neill, as all the mothers of Ballyutogue, will be remembered by us bent over her eternal station at the hearth. As we tumbled in she was hoisting the great copper pot by pulley chain over the turf fire.
"A good day to you, Mrs. O'Neill," Conor said. "I'm afraid we are in sorrow."
"Kilty Larkin croaked," I said.
"Ah, so it is," my ma sighed, and crossed herself.
"And sure Mrs. Larkin will be needing you to lay him out."
My ma was already out of her apron. "Conor, you stay here with your brother and sister tonight," she said.
"I was hoping to mourn at the wake," he answered.
"That will be up to your ma and daddy. Are you carrying salt?"
"Oh, Lord, we all forgot in the excitement."
Ma went to the large salt bowl in a niche on the side of the fireplace and doled out a pinch for my pocket, for Conor and for herself to ward off the evil spirits.
"I'm going to the bog with Conor," I said, bolting behind him.
"Be sure you tell the bees and cows," she called after us.
"Liam is doing that."
Our village started at an elevation of three hundred feet above Lough Foyle and our fields crept up into the hills for another five hundred feet, all sliced into wee parcels of a rundale. Some of the plots were hardly larger than our best room and very few people could really tell what exactly belonged to whom. Each plot was walled off, making a spider web of stone over the mountainside.
Conor ran like he was driven on a wind, never stopping until he cleared the last wall gasping for breath. He sat sweating, trembling and sniffling. "Grandfar," he said shakily.
Now Conor Larkin was twelve, my closest friend and my idol, and I wanted very much to be able to say words of comfort but I just could not manage much at all.
My earliest memories had to do with the Larkins. I was the youngest of my family, the scrapings of the pot. My sisters were all grown and married and my oldest brother, Eamon, had emigrated to America and was a fireman in Baltimore. The middle brother, Colm, at nineteen was eight years older than myself when Kilty died.
Conor and I waited for a time, for seldom was the day as clear and the view as splendid. Ballyutogue, meaning "place of troubles," lay grandly on the east side of Inishowen several miles north of Derry in County Donegal.
From where we stood we could see it all . . . all the stolen lands that now belonged to Arthur Hubble, the Earl of Foyle. . . .
Excerpted from Trinity by Leon Uris Copyright © 2006 by Leon Uris. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted March 7, 2013
Very interesting book. A bit slow in some parts, and I felt like I wanted a bit more closure regarding some of the characters and story lines, however, I gained a lot of historical knowledge from this book and I really enjoyed the time I spent reading it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 10, 2012
This is by far the most compelling book I have ever read. You often read the story with a lump in your throath and eyes full of tears. You hope against hope for a happy ending. I fully understand the term 'the terrible beauty' for Uris has captured this in almost all the lead persons in his novel and certainly in the magnificent story he tells. I recommend this book to anyone that loves history and has an open mind for courage beyond believe.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 1, 2010
Being Irish I have often been chastized for not having read Trinity. I am now totally engrossed in the realization of Irish history and the unholy aggressions they suffered the hands of mother church, be it Protestant or Catholic. I strongly recommend anyone Irish or other to read this at once startling, exciting, educational, romantic tale of Irish and British peoples.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 24, 2009
Nationalism, Individuality, honour, the grim struggle for basic existence, and determination -there is enough of everything for everyone in Trinity by Leon Uris. A mini-epic in itself, Trinity is a thriller, love story and a work of historical fiction all woven into a beautiful compilation. It brings out the complexities of Ireland through the eyes of two simple Irish lads Connor Larkin and Seamus O'Neill, tracing their life and the people around them. The novel is set during the decades - the 1840s to 1916.
The book opens with the death, forewarning the reader of things to come. The opening pages set the tone for the rest of the novel with the peasants shown as living in abject poverty. The British and the Church are equally responsible - the former using colonialism and the latter- superstition and dogmas.
The author beautifully intertwines fact with fiction, and history with the story. There are three parties to the struggle - the Irish Catholic natives, Protestant immigrants, and the English who control both through a policy of divide and rule using the landed aristocracy and religion as bait. The reasons behind the Potato famine are discussed as also the plight of the people who "died with green mouths ..from eating grass."
Religion binds the Protestant Irishmen to the British and we see passions being whipped by pastors which spill over into full blown riots. The landed gentry use these priests to "keep the Catholic and Protestant mobs separated and fighting one another."
The book reaches its climax in the trial of Connor Larkin. I would be doing injustice to the book by revealing the grand finale at which the book ends. Each character in the story is dealt with beautifully and the author takes care to tie all the loose ends up in the end.
What makes this book stand out in contrast to the others? Many reasons in fact. First and foremost, this book is a work of historical fiction. He narrates the Irish history from the Potato famine to the Easter uprising of 1916 using fictional characters. Secondly, very powerful emotions are brought out in the entire book. Nationalism, bigotry, family ties, friendship, and relationships - the novel gives equal treatment to all. One is moved by Connor's struggle against the British and simultaneously his yearning to lead a normal happy married life. The dialogue delivery is excellent and makes the reader sit up and notice. The complexity of Ireland with its three cornered contest (hence the title Trinity) is simplified through the story of the three different families in the book. However it is not all philosophy and heavy weather. In the end it is a story with a storyline and plot which builds up to a climax. Some of the lines of the book are timeless valuable pieces which can be quoted even in today's global context.
On the downside,the book is voluminous and not for the fast breezy reader. Sometimes the story spins off to the many subplots. However credit goes to the author to bring back all the subplots back to the central theme. At 900 pages in small print, the book requires time and patience but the reader is in the end rewarded with an entirely satisfying experience. This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in historical fiction, drama, nationalism and revolutionary movements.
It has been learnt that HBO is planning a movie/ television series and has bought rights to the book. I hope that the eventual movie is as good as the book.
Posted January 12, 2005
Leon Uris introduces Trinity, a novel of extraordinary Irish history and tragedy. Rarely does anyone talk about the struggles of the Irish and the fight against the British. Uris is one of the few who take people into ¿the terrible beauty¿ of Ireland, by putting pen to paper. Trinity is an interesting story of great heroes who die trying to save Ireland from the hands of the British. However, it is also a story of love ¿ not only the love for another person, but also the love for one¿s nation. In this book, the greatest love is the love for Ireland. Trinity invites readers on a quest to Irish history. Uris sets his novel in the mid-1800¿s to the early 1900¿s. This time period is the beginning of Industrialization for Ireland. At this time, Britain is in control of Ireland. Protestants and Catholics have been turned against each other. This hatred of each other leads toward violence and separation. Uris explains these feelings of resentment and hatred so vividly that the reader starts to feel them too. The battles and riots are brutal, unfeeling, and violently alive. Uris does not hide anything form his readers. He wants them to picture the tortured, bloodied bodies of the Irish. He wishes to reveal the appalling control over the Irish Catholics by the British. The inferiority of these Irish can be seen all throughout the book. These Irish are treated so badly, after the British have stolen their land under their feet that it makes the readers almost cry. The pages of Trinity are filled with pain and suffering, bringing out the reader¿s emotions. The fight for Independence of Ireland is an on-going war. Reading this novel, one can ask themselves, how are the British able to steal Ireland and take over the Irish? This is a question that comes to everyone¿s minds. The characters that join in this fight are the ones who have pride for Ireland. This pride keeps them fighting to the death for Independence. Some of these characters are torn between their nationalism and their feelings for their loved ones. Eventually in Trinity, nationalism wins. Trinity shows readers strong love, nationalism, and reveals martyrs. Leon Uris is a splendid storyteller who seems as if he had been in the midst of all this Irish history. He reveals the morals of characters and lessons so that the reader can learn from them. Trinity is a masterpiece written truly to inspire people to acknowledge the struggles of Ireland. It is a tribute to those who have fought for Ireland independence or died trying. Anyone who reads this book will be filled with compassion and inspiration. They will enjoy reading about how the love for one¿s country can make one do crazy things. Trinity is a beautiful story that reveals the true past and sends the message to readers that a great fight is one filled with great love.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 10, 2005
The novel Trinity, by Leon Uris, is the history of Ireland inside an epic fiction about a young man named Conor Larkin. Conor Larkin was a poor, Irish, Catholic young man who grows up and fights to gain the emancipation of South Ireland from the North, Protestant, Irishmen and their degradation. The novel takes place in the late 1800¿s through the early 1900¿s. The Irish depend on the potato as their primary source of food. The Protestant nobility of Ireland forces the Irish to work the land as peasants. When the potato famine arrives, the Protestant nobility decreases the size of the Catholic farms spuring a religious war due to survival from starvation. I liked this novel because it is well written. The novel is further spiced up due to its political history, and romance. The novel has an engaging and powerful plot that Uris so masterfully shows. I give this novel four out of five stars only because the beginning of the novel is too lengthy and at times bored me, but the rest of the novel made up for the action that the beginning lacked.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 10, 2005
Trinity by Leon Uris was an excellent example of good writing. Although it takes a while to embrace you once you hit the third chapter in part one you are completely drawn in. This book allowed me to have some insight about Ireland¿s true struggle. When I first picked up the book I must say I was a bit drawn back because of the length (815 pages to be exact). I thought I would never be able to read it, why didn¿t I look at it first before choosing it for my global history project and finally what was I getting myself into. But as I began reading it, I began to get into the book. The book is filled with these intertwined events, most of them revolving around religion. I mean in the book you have tales of romance, tales of betrayal, and tales of revolution to name a few. You never thought that by reading the first chapter in part one that this book would push and pull you in so many different directions. What I must applaud Uris for doing is for making everything connect in the book. No matter how different all of these ideas may seem Uris made a point to tie up any loose ends by the end of the book. And that is what was so good about it. He left you satisfied at the end of the book, knowing everything you possibly could. I never thought I would be able to get so involved in a book that was recommended by a teacher. I have not read any of Uris¿ previous works but I must say if they were like Trinity then I would gladly read them. I thought that since I was reading this book for school it had to be boring, when in fact it was the complete opposite. I actually find it hard to believe that this book is considered fiction after I had researched many of the events in historical text books. I found this book simply leaving me on the edge of my seat wanting more. Uris gave me a new perspective on books in general. One of the most common sayings that I can say applies to me is ¿Don¿t judge a book by it¿s cover¿. It also gave me a whole new perspective into Ireland¿s tragedy. It left me wanting to research even more about Ireland¿s tragedy on the internet. Overall it was an excellent book, and I would say don¿t let the size discourage or intimidate you because all 815 pages were worthwhile.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2005
This novel is based upon the era of the late 1800's where the Irish, mostly the Catholic Irish suffered greatly from starvation and hunger dued to the blight which was a potatoe crisis of unexpected measures. Most Irish people either emigrated to other countries such as the United States or England for work (about 1.5 million people). There are three different families with very distinct perspectives which focus on the PERSIA (Political ,Economical ,Religious ,Social ,Intellectual ,and Aesthetic) throughout the novel and they are the Larkin family= the average Irish Catholic family, the Macleods= a Protestant Scottish family, and the Hubbles= the aristocratic nobility from England which comprise the 'Trinity'. Even though this novel is narrated by Seamus, Conor's character is focused upon more thoroughly and many of the secondary characters such as Caroline and Roger from the Hubbles are percieved through Conor's frequent involvement with them. Leon Uris manages to incorporate and analyze both of Ireland's political and religious conditions during this time and bring the story to life through the eyes of a young boy and his idol.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 10, 2005
Because this is the first of the books that I have read by Leon Uris, I am glad to say that as a first time reader, reading Trinity was remarkable! Not only does this book instantly grab the reader into the world of the Irish under British rule, it also shows the life and all the aspects that come with life (death, joy, sadness, births, war, etc.) in it. And if you come into reading this book with the attitude that it will be boring because it deals with World History, guess again. Indeed the novel does provide historical background information, but it is so much more than that! It is truely outstanding. Once you begin reading, I'm sure you won't stop. Every minute that you spend away from the Larkins household and dear old Ireland feels as if you are seperated from the wonderfully joyous and sad adventure presented by Leon Uris.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 28, 2003
Trinity has always been a daunting read for me. I passed it many a time on my father's bookshelf, my friends' father's bookshelves, and past the mug in my reflection. I finally decided to approach Trinity a few months ago and I, truly, have not been the same since. I have been captured by the story of Ireland, by the concurrent and antipodal lives of the Catholic and Protestant Irish, and by Leon Uris' poetic selection of words worthy to tell the story of these noble characters. Uris has reinvigorated my yearn for all things Irish. I highly recommend this book and I plan to give this book as a gift to every person on my list who has a hint of Irish in their blood.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 6, 2002
I have read this book at least once a year since it was published. As others have said it is brilliantly written. You feel as if you're there with Conor every step of the way sharing his family life with it's joys and frustrations, his relationships with his best friends, teachers, role models and his dealings within the IRB. It shows the harsh realities of living in a country with such religious strife and dicrimination. If you've a drop of Irish blood in you this book will always call to you. It pulled at me so, that I started my visits back to land of my ansestors, Ireland. I love this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 9, 2001
This book is hardly worth the 800 pages it is written on. The writting is extremly poor and the characters have absolutly no depth. I you want a decent historical fiction look for a Michener. Please, do not waste your time with this book. Its only intrinsic value is the history overviews of the time period.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 30, 2000
Trinity is my favorite book. I have read it twice and I haven't tired of it. It tells the story of the fictional Conor Larkin, a young poor Catholic boy in Donegal, Ulster, in the late 19th century. It starts when he is twelve and goes throughout his life of struggle against British tyranny. It is written with great style and it weaves history into a great, wonderful story. It captures you from the first sentence and never lets go, even when you have read it. The love of the characters remains in your heart forever. It evokes emotions that will never leave.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 5, 2000
Absolutly the best book I have ever read. The characters in this book are extraordinary. You will laugh, cry and never be able to forget the wonderful experience you will get from reading this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 30, 2000
Trinity is a book that captures your heart and soul as it pulls the reader deeper and deeper into the dark and sad history of Ireland. Leon Uris gives us the history of the people and their land and what it means to be Catholic throughout the turmoil and years of struggle. There is underlying humor, love, loyalty, recklessness, and mystery of its characters. A book that is hard to put down and once read, leaves the reader with a better understanding of Ireland, its competitive, divisive mentality in a land where emotions run deep. Wish I could find it in a beautiful leather hard copy to place on my library shelf.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 26, 2000
Deserves Six Stars. In this epic novel, Leon Uris explores the entrenched hatreds in Northern Ireland, and through fictional characters draws us a dramatic history of the conflicts. This novel is similar in type to Exodus, QBV11 etc. However in Trinity, Uris has supped at a torrent of storytelling talent that few authors ever taste. The plot is strong, cohesive and and progresses well. The characters are vividly and realistically drawn. The book grabs the reader and will not let go. Uris makes it clear where his synpathies lie, but still gives a balanced and very human account of the complex bitternesses that plague Northern Ireland. The book is long (I would have liked it longer) but the interest never flags. Unlike many epics, Trinity is strong until the very end, where the reader is left with the realisation that the Irish tragedy is not over, but still carries on. This book will bring tears to your eyes. It is a gripping read and a certain classic. Don't miss it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 2, 2000
Trinity was a wonderful book about the beauty of Ireland. My heritage was from there, so if you're part Irish, this book is a must read. It combines all of the necessities of a good book, and adds in history while doing so.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 21, 2011
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Posted February 25, 2012
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