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I just finished reading “The Chronicles of Iona: Exile” and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. I couldn’t put it down! I was wondering when the next book will be released and if you have a mailing list to let people know about it. Thank you!
Nancy–Thanks for writing in! Your note prompted the blog post above. Book 2 is very nearly ready–I”m finalizing the historical notes now while the cover is being created. You can keep checking in here (or subscribe to the blog)–or I can put you on my mailing list. Let me know and thanks!
Great news! Yes, please add me to your mailing list. I look forward to the next book! Thank you!
Done, Nancy! Thanks.
I have just finished reading Exile and was thoroughly entranced. I have been to Iona on a pilgrimage with a group from Kirkridge, a retreat center iin Bangor, Pa. While there I met an old friend from college who now lives part time on Iona and who, inspired by his visions there, has erected standing stones and built a stone chapel dedicated to ColumCille on his property next to Kirkridge. His son has published a pamphlet on the story of Oran (Odhrain), one of Columba’s companions to whom dedicated the monastery’s graveyard. I’d be interested if you have any information on Oran. I was deeply touched by your excellent presentation of the inner struggles of both Columba and Aedan.
I have a question. My name is Van Ness (meaning from Ness). My Dutch ancestor came to North America in the 1600s. I have always wondered whether there was any connection to Loch Ness – which surprisingly retains the same name today as in the 6th century. The small village of Ness is on the island of Ameland in the North Sea off the coast of Friesland in the Netherlands. Was there interaction between peoples of those areas? I’d appreciate any comments you might have on that,
I’m eager to read the next volume. Thanks so much. You can find my own blog at http://www.geezerhoodguide.com .
Thanks for this. Very interesting! You are quite right: in his “Life of St Columba”, Adomnan called both the loch and the river the name “Nesa” (Latin), based on the (Gaelic) “Nes”. So the name-form certainly was in existence by the 7th century (the “Life” was written in the 690s). It is Gaelic and it will have pre-dated any Scandinavian presence in the North of Scotland.
However, the Indo-European names of topographical features, especially rivers, had real staying power. For instance, as they were conquering Wales, the Romans asked the Britons their name for the river we now know as Avon. The Britons (slyly?) replied “Avon”–which in British-Celtic meant “River”. The River Avon means, therefore, “River-River”, a name which is ancient in origin.
So it could be that there is at least a toponymic connection between the Scottish Ness and your Ness in Ameland in that both may derive from a common (?) Indo-European root. This website suggests so: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/ness. I don’t know of a political connection. If there was one, it was later.
St Odran is a famous figure in Columban hagiography, having given his name to the Reilig Odrain, where burials of kings and other notables have taken place since the early Middle Ages. Odran does not appear in Adomnan’s “Life”, where the honor of having been the first to die and be buried on Iona is given to another man, a Briton (“Life of Columba”, III.6).
Our oldest written version of the story of Odran derives from the Middle Irish homily of the 12th century. There, Columba asks for one of his monks to offer himself as a sacrifice to consecrate Iona’s graveyard. Odran asks, Columba consents, and Odran dies. By the 17th century, the story has taken on a more macabre tone, with Odran being buried by Columba–alive and standing upright! When Odran was unearthed 24 hours later, he “… still living, began to entertain Columbus and his company with so particular an account of the state of the dead, that the good man did not think it safe to trust him any longer among the living, but ordered the grave to be closed again upon him, and sent him to the other world, where he had already made so good an acquaintance”!(That’s from William Sacheverell’s account of 1698, p. 102.)
At its heart, the story preserves memories of pre-Christian cult-practices. (Richard Sharpe gives a very useful account of the evolution of the story of Odran’s sacrifice in his “Life of Columba” (London, 1995), pp. 360-2.)
Hope that helps!
I have just finished your first book in the ‘Chronicles of Iona’ series, and have greatly enjoyed it! I am christian and living near Doire in N.Ireland. Just now as you know Doire has become ‘city of culture’ and only a few weeks back in a sun-drenched week-end a festival in honour of Columba was held. This was a ‘come-and-go’ celebration but some in my family would love to see and dare I say will see new monastic expression of Christ’s ministry form in Doire once again; christianity of today is not like the more pure form which Columb and Patrick would have brought to Ireland. Thanks for your deep build-up knowledge of these times, even though the ‘blanks’ need some filling in!! Your portrait of Columb is not religious which would be showing off his saint-hood without acknowledging his man-hood with all human weakness. This gives hope for any ‘common’ Christ-follower which includes me. Thanks for your time and skill in writing ‘Exile’ and how good there are 2 (?) more coming!! What historically was happening that time was astonishing, to say the least (the BBC over here did a series on ‘how the celts saved civilisation’). For a time I was very intrigued by Patrick, such an unassuming figure, who so significantly changed the scape of Ireland in a lifetime…that is enough to see someone more than Patrick was here. How good there are a few manuscripts by him left. For a time we lived opposite a park called after St. Columb in Doire; they have recently put an impressive sculpture of the towering figure of Columb in there. I could send you a few pictures through your e.mail if you would appreciate?? Thanks again; looking forward to read ‘Prophet’… Gerrit. (by the way, my wife and I are dutch, but moved here in 1990).
Any word on book three?
Yes! Book 3 (“Island-Pilgrim”) is coming along nicely! I spent a number of weeks in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland this summer finalizing some research for the book and I’m having a lot of fun working on it. The pace of writing has slowed somewhat, though: my family and I are in the midst of a move to Belgium. As a mediaeval historian, it will be great to be back in Europe full-time. Look for the book in 2014. I’ll post updates on this blog–perhaps even some chapters to keep the story moving along!
I have just finished Book Two: Prophet, and was disappointed to find that there is no Kindle, or ebook version for Book 3: Pilgrim. I live in Kenya, so ordering, or purchasing a hard copy locally isn’t possible. Are there plans to release an ebook version of book 3?
Thanks for the series. I have throughly enjoyed the first two and look forward to reading the third.
Hi Dunnings in Kenya–I’ve loaded up the e-book, at long last! I hope you’ll be able to get hold of it in Kenya. If not, give me a shout and I’ll see what I can do. Enjoy, and all the best, Paula
Will Book 3 be available on Amazon Kindle soon?
Jeffrey–It’s there now! Thanks for you patience and hope you enjoy! Paula
Having finished reading your first 3 I am eagerly waiting for your 4th. Rarely does one find a series like this which is hard to put down. You have really brought to life those historical events, ones I have studied for 40 years. Loved them, now need the 4th, Neville, New Zealand
Neville–Thanks for this. I’m working on it! I fondly remember meeting you on Iona, and so look forward to getting back there soon. All the best. Paula
Dear Author, I am Polish fan of your Columban story. I was fortunate to catch the hook by reading “Exile” in my own language, and now I got no choice but to push myself hard through English parts II and III. And I feel no regret! This is so, so brilliant literature. Finally, something so Christian by spirit, and on certain level. Not much of such readings these days! Thanks for filling that gap, thanks thrice!
Adam–that’s so kind. Thanks a lot. I’m working on book 4, so there’s more to come! Paula
Hi, do you know if your 3rd book, Island-Pilgrim, is available on kindle?
I read your first two books on kindle. Very much enjoyed them! I have been hoping for a sequel!
Your post prompted me to load the e-book at last! Thank you. It’s on Kindle now. I’ve priced it as low as it can go, in honour of all my wonderful, patient readers. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think! Paula