Roan: The Tales of Conor Archer

Roan: The Tales of Conor Archer

by E. R. Barr



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Roan: The Tales of Conor Archer by E. R. Barr

Long ago, the Tinkers exiled themselves, sailing from the west of Ireland, their women weeping in despair over the men folk who had consorted on the sand with the shape-shifting Roan, non-human beings from Celtic myth. The sea-wives had returned in the shape of seals bearing pups that transformed to human children as soon as they touched the sand. 'Dark ones', the Tinkers called these offspring and claimed them as their own. Traveling to the New World, they found the spot where two rivers flowed together-a thin place, where myths from many cultures converged and legends came to life. There, for a century and a half, the 'dark ones' stayed hidden and the town kept their secrets.
That's how Conor Archer heard it in the days after he arrived at Tinker's Grove, Wisconsin. Three days earlier, the night his mother died, the seventeen year old was playing in a pickup band at a downtown Chicago Irish bar. A strange biker approached him, looked at Conor's webbed hands, pronounced him kin, and then took a chunk out of the boy's palm with weird pointed teeth. Racked with pain, he found himself at Buckingham Fountain, bleeding and delirious. He saw a woman there, washing her hair in the sparkling water. Dazzled by her beauty, he allowed her to wrap his bleeding hand in a piece of her dress. Incredibly, she aged to an old crone before his eyes, and then told him he had less than twenty-four hours to live. Conor made it back home to hold his mother as she passed, her last words a whisper for him to go to Tinker's Grove, his only hope for salvation.
He did as she said; his fever left only when Malachy, the Abbot from the town monastery, took him down to the river where an old Indian Mound stood. With the twins, Jace and Beth Michaels by his side, they watched in wonder as something came out of the Mound, vaguely human, and healed the boy. A murky prophecy was spoken about Conor, but what he remembered more clearly was looking out at the river and seeing a shadow there of Piasa, the legendary Native American river demon, gazing at him with hungry eyes. Most of all he remembered Emily, his aunt, aged but loving, who took him in and gave him a home.
No peace for him though--he was changing. He ran in the night like a wolf and flew through the trees like an owl. Strange visions of what might be, and glimpses of otherworldly beings in the forest troubled him.
Conor's nemesis is Caithness McNabb, wealthy landowner, who has a plan for power and riches for her and her three misbegotten sons. Selling land to a genetics company, she hires Dr. Nicholas Drake, respected bio-geneticist, to come and learn the secret of the 'dark ones.' Cate is motivated by Piasa, who whispers fame and glory to her in the night as she walks the banks of the Wisconsin River. The monster has told her who lives in the Mound, an immortal Welsh prince named Madoc, exiled by his countrymen centuries ago because of his strange affinity with the Roan. He's Piasa's mortal enemy, and an alliance with Cate will give Piasa the chance it needs to rise to power, spreading evil and chaos through town and countryside.
Into this web step Conor and his friends. When children go missing, townspeople panic thinking that their secret sins have come back to demand vengeance. Drake has abducted them and begins to experiment on them, seeking the source of their shape-shifting power.
All that Conor and his friends can do is awaken the power of the land and allow long dead myths to come to life. Conor, however, runs from who and what he is, becoming his own worst enemy. Beth carries his child and those who hate Conor need the infant to rise to power.
All seems lost as science and technology clash with myth and legend-two dying worlds trying to survive. The outcome will rest on whether Conor will accept who and what he is. Set in the present, but spanning centuries, a battle for humanity and the future of the world begins anew.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781937387662
Publisher: Eric Barr
Publication date: 10/08/2012
Pages: 570
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.27(d)

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Roan: The Tales of Conor Archer 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Kim_connor More than 1 year ago
This was difficult to read in bits as I had to go all the way through to the end in one gulp. I think it is more about the complex and the well-developed storyline that engulfed my attention. I had to struggle to get other stuff done while I was on it. The plot of Roan is distinct and brings to mind Harry Potter kind of world with power, magic and evil interwoven. Not wanting to spoil the fun for you, I'll not divulge too much about the book. The author is never stingy with the intricate details and often times you forget it's a book, it feels frankly and weirdly real. Grab a coffee, throw up your legs on a stool, cancel all appointments and enjoy this soul-stirring fantasy fiction. You'll surely hate the author for making it this good.
Feathered_Quill1 More than 1 year ago
From the fantastical to the emotional, this is one book that hits on all cylinders. In fact, not since Potter has there been such a large story with so many intricate characters; except this one also gives the Celtic twist that all lovers of Irish knowledge, history and beauty will absolutely adore. The Tinkers are a group that went through a great deal back in their homeland. Their story involves a mystical plot: Upon exiling themselves, they headed out to find a new place to live. However, the Tinkers men folk actually fought with shapeshifters called Roan, which come from the depths of Celtic mythology. The wives returned as seals, but their pups transformed into human children. These 'human' children were granted the name 'Dark Ones' by the Tinkers who accepted them as family. Upon reaching the New World, this group settled in a beautiful spot where actual legends came to life; and there they sat, while the townspeople around them kept the Celtic secrets and made sure no one was ever aware of the 'Dark Ones.' This is the myth; this is the legend; and this is exactly what main character, Conor Archer, learns about after landing in Tinker’s Grove, Wisconsin. Conor came to the state with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Sent by his mother, who’s dying words told him that he must head straight for the location, Conor actually arrives in the small town succumbing to an illness that he does not understand; a type of sickness that makes Conor more than just a human. Conor’s health improves with the help of an abbot, but he soon finds himself locked in a struggle between myth and reality. The Roan, the 'Dark Ones' - all of the mystical characters are there to join him in his battle between good and evil in order to save humanity as a whole. The suspense and action intensify as Conor begins to change. Not only does he gaze at a river demon, but his visions of beings that could not possibly be real grow in number. On top of all this, Conor must wage war with a rich landowner who has no interest in anything but money and establishing absolute power. Add in a bio-geneticist, an immortal Welsh prince by the name of Madoc, and a town that has literally gone crazy with panic believing that their long silence may just come back to harm them, and you have a book that brings all manner of hero and villain to life. Although some may refer to the book as a bit 'wordy' in spots, the words are riveting. The scenes are larger than life, leading the reader to actually feel as if they are standing by the side of Conor, just waiting to see what happens next. Quill says: Well done for a debut novel. Readers, however, will need to amp up their patience as they beg to know, 'what happens next?'
Capri_Coker More than 1 year ago
Imaginative, Entertaining and Well-Written ''Roan: The Tales of Conor Archer'' is one of those fantastically imaginative novels that sweeps you up in legend and folklore, weaving a story about one young man's quest to unravel the mystery of his own heritage and navigate the dangerous waters he's found himself in as myth and legend become real. Right from the start this story caught me up in its wonderful storytelling and the way the author weaves the story around the reader... pulling you in with a talented and deft hand. E.R. Barr has a gift for writing that produces a vibrant writing style that brings the story to life; using vivid imagery, strong dialogue that propels the story along, authentic characters that forge a connection to the reader and a satisfying plot that hooks the reader from start to finish.  The novel centers around Conor Archer a young man who finds himself quickly thrust into a world he doesn't know when a man bites him and calls him kin, starting a change reaction of death, revelation, danger, prophesy, mythical beings, magic and destiny all rolled into one. Conor is the type of character that you just can't help but relate to and root for; he's authentic and real, multi-layered with believable thoughts, feelings, actions and a heritage that slowly reveals itself.  As Conor's journey continues the reader gets more involved with this story, unraveling more mysteries and even more questions as Conor delves into the world of the 'dark ones'', the Roan, shape-shifters and more.  What I liked about this book is that it builds off of cultural folklore and legends, then it twists them and reshapes them into something new that feels both familiar and not as the story progresses. E.R. Barr crafts a refreshingly original tale of destiny, courage, strength and the will to survive as Conor takes us on a truly imaginative journey along side him.  Overall, this was fun, engaging, well-written and original. It was well worth the read and it's definitely a novel I would recommend to other readers.
EDL85 More than 1 year ago
If you love fantasy novels, “Roan: The Tales of Conor Archer” will delight you from the first page all the way to the last. The story opens with an old man fishing—he’s searching for the Great Cat, a catfish of mythical size, but what he finds is Piasa, the Devourer of Souls, a evil of epic proportion that will soon come to threaten the town of Tinker’s Grove.  Flash over to Conor Archer, who’s dealing with the slow death of his mother by cancer when a very strange man from a bar bites his hand and bursts his conceptions about reality wide open. After his mother’s death, Conor very nearly dies from the bite, until he makes it to his hometown of Tinker’s Grove and is magically healed on a hollow hill. Conor is now changing—and while he struggles to hold onto his humanity a woman named Cate is eager to give up hers to the darkness for wealth and glory.   “Roan” is unique in how it weaves together both Native American and Celtic legends, and I liked how it was just as much a coming-of-age story as it was a fantasy novel. Conor struggles through the book with his mother’s death, his ancestry, and his powers once he starts to change, but he also struggles with friendship and love; nothing is as it seems or what he thought, especially his Aunt Emily. My imagination was captured by Madoc and how he came to be caught beneath the hill, as well as by the slightly sinister Rory Nalan. Cate and her three sons are appropriately frightening villains, though they pale in comparison to the Piasa; however, the real suspense for me lay in how Conor’s powers would develop and whether he would choose to accept his ancestry and birthright. The author’s attention to detail is superb, creating a fully realized world that seems both bright with possibility for magic and fraught with danger. Recommended to readers who enjoy well-crafted fantasy that takes its time to develop its setting and its characters; similar authors include Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint. 
MichaelBeas More than 1 year ago
E. R. Barr’s mythical world comes to life in a grand and epic scale that will take you deep into heart of a legendary past. The Wisconsin River has never seemed so intriguing until you meet the main character Conor Archer, a young man from the streets of Chicago who embarks on a Journey to Tinker’s Grove.  It is there in Tinker’s Grove that the worlds of Ireland and American collage in an amazing story that will take your breath away. Classic myths, a tight knit Irish Catholic town and various villains’ combine and come together to form a very well thought out storyline that will keep you up all night reading.  Little-by-little as the story progresses Conor begins to gain a deeper understanding of who he is and above all what the cards of destiny have in store for him. It is then that he begins to truly understand the power contained in he spectacular gifts he possesses.  I was definitely hooked from the very start of the story that flowed and was edited beautifully. Overall this amazing tale will certainly have a positive impact on many readers. The ending tees up a sequel and makes you want more! 5 Stars for Author E. R. Barr. 
ReadersFavorite4 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite On the night his mother dies in Chicago, 17-year-old Conor discovers that he is among the children called ‘the dark ones,’ born when the men of The Tinkers consorted with the shape shifting Roan long ago. He encounters a man who bites off a part of his webbed hand and stumbles about bleeding when he meets a woman, who wraps his hand and tells him he has only 24 hours left. When he returns to his dying mother, he is told to go to Tinker’s Grove, Wisconsin, for salvation. He is healed with the help of the abbot Malachy and a disfigured being, residing in an old Indian Mound by the river. The story develops as he encounters enemies in the character of Caithness McNabb, a landowner, who dreams of power at the urgings of an Indian demon named Piasa. Caithness works with bio-geneticist Dr. Nicholas Drake to discover what secrets the dark ones hold. So when children go missing, people are afraid their secrets may be revealed. Meanwhile, Conor tries to evade his true nature, while the rest of the future lies in whether or not he accepts his fate. If fans of fantasy fiction who have not read "Roan" explore it, they will not be disappointed with its complex characters and a strong plot. The prose is superb and its many vivid scenes are painted with foreboding, action and suspense. It is amazing how E.R. Barr seamlessly intertwines the magic of Celtic and American Indian legends in one story, and then sets it in modern times. Moreover, it is a story of self-discovery and the age-old fight between good and evil. This is a narrative that is told in a re-imagination of lore and science, and life and its lessons, and the result is an extremely riveting tale. Filled with many interesting characters and with a plot that can leave the reader breathless, this novel is difficult to put down.  
ReadersFavorite3 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite "Roan: The Tales of Conor Archer" by E. R. Barr introduces us to a myth and legend and the Tinkers who have exiled themselves and gone sailing west of Ireland. The main character is Conor Archer who arrived in Tinker's Grove, Wisconsin, just after his mother died and after a strange man saw his webbed hands and declared him kin. Conor finds out that it is to become a life and death struggle to get to Tinkers Grove and to find out what was happening to him. we learn about the old Celtic myths from him. E.R Barr has here created a complex and captivating story. It brings forward Celtic myths that are not as commonly known as Greek, Roman or Nordic mythology. This story has a little bit of everything in it: the myth, the magic, science, and an enemy to go with the hero-like  Caithness McNabb. For me there are parts of the book that are just a little to cluttered with a bit too much to take on board at one time. Other than that, I couldn't find anything I didn't like. Conor is a character that you well root for and you can put yourself in his shoes as he finds out things that he never knew before while he has also to butt up against Caithness McNabb. The villain is one you will love to hate; for me that is the perfect villain because if I cannot feel the dislike of the bad guy then what is the point of them being there? If you are ready for taking on myths in a modern land and diving into a complex well-written story, this is the book for you. 
ReadersFavorite2 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Tania Staley for Readers' Favorite "Roan: The Tales of Conor Archer, Vol.1" by E.R. Barr is a fabulous tale of Celtic myth and legend. Barr truly understands the complexities of Celtic myth and wields his knowledge expertly. "Roan" is an exciting blend of traditional myth with current fantasy writing trends that create a refreshing new world for readers to explore. This is a real page-turner that is easy to get immersed in. If you are a fan of epic fantasies like those of J.R.R. Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, or Terry Brooks, then you are sure to love this modern fairy tale.   "Roan" tells the story of seventeen-year-old musician Conor Archer, whose life is radically changed when a mysterious stranger arrives at his gig and beckons him to follow. Spurred by an intoxicating drink from the stranger’s flask, Conor follows against his better judgment and is pulled into a world he never knew existed. That same night his mother succumbs to the cancer that has been ravaging her, but before she dies she tells her son that the things he has witnessed that night are portents of danger to come; therefore, he must return home to Tinker’s Grove, Wisconsin, to an aunt he never knew existed. Soon Conor is surrounded by tales of a distant past in which his name is whispered, a town that refuses to see the truth, creatures that defy reality, and an evil intent upon destroying the peace that has been carefully maintained for hundreds of years. It will take strength and courage for Conor to claim his rightful place and wield the power that is his birthright. If he fails to do so, Tinker’s Grove will fall, and soon the world will know darkness as it has never seen before. 
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Katelyn Hensel for Readers' Favorite Connor Archer’s world is falling down around him. His mother is dying, and he is soon going to be on his own, a teenager alone in the dark streets of Chicago. Playing his whistle at a local Irish bar is his only escape, until one night, a dark stranger opens up his eyes to a history he has never known, and a world that he thought only existed in his imagination. After making his way to the town of his birth, Connor is forced to contend with great evil, but makes some interesting and powerful friends along the way. Through the eyes of the citizens of the town, both the dark and the good, a mystery unfolds within the town that threatens great evil. The story is a combination of history, mystery, and mythology.  You thought Percy Jackson had problems? Wait until you see what Connor Archer has in store. The mythology that E.R. Barr has created for this story is wonderful. I am a big fan of myths of all flavors, and "Roan" blends together Celtic and Native American mythology in a believable and interesting way. Barr has created a full-fledged adventure story that blends the boundaries between this world and the next. The writing style is quite believable for a young adult story. There are witty banter, dark foreshadowing, and lots of adventure, but it still maintains that innocent and slightly confused tone of a youth trying to figure everything out. The story itself has moments of pure horror in addition to little bits of romance and lots of mystery. This is a book for people who love blended genres and enjoy a good mystery.   
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite Conor Archer's life in Chicago has been a simple one. He has been home-schooled by his mother, Finola, and he spends his evenings playing music at a local pub. All that changes one night when he meets a strange, leather-clad man at that pub who gives him a strange liquor to drink and then savagely bites his hand, and later encounters a strangely beautiful woman who binds that wound with a cloth and pin. All the weirdness of these events is compounded by the death of his mother, who had been ill for some time. Her final instructions are for him to travel to a small town, Tinker's Grove, in Wisconsin, where his aunt Emily would care for him and continue his education. As he is travelling on the bus, his wounded hand festers, and he arrives at his destination more dead than alive.  "Roan" is not a book you should consider spending a long evening reading. It is not a fast and easy read, quickly absorbed and then forgotten. E.R. Barr's urban-epic fantasy is much more than that, and it should be savored. I quickly found myself enthralled by the characters and the plot, and became reluctant to hasten my adventure through this book. It is an amazing mix of urban and epic fantasy, shot through with Native American, Irish and Welsh mythology, people with characters who are both filled with human frailties and are larger-than-life. If you are like me and have become somewhat jaded by epic fantasy, you are in for an awesome treat. This is the real deal.   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually don't read these types of stories, but on the recommendation of a friend, I gave it a try and I am so glad I did! I found it very hard to put down, I was riveted by the story. I felt as if I were there in every scene. I have not been so excited by a book since I was a child; it's been a long time since I came across something that I would read many times over. This definitely meets that criteria, I am eager to read it again as well as the next book about Connor Archer and his adventures.