Clonmac's Bridge by Jeffrey Perren

Several months ago I enjoyed reading Cossacks in Paris by Jeffrey Perren and particularly liked his approach to using historical facts to help tell a good story. This style is repeated effectively in Clonmac's Bridge in the historical part of the story: a sort of Monk's Tale.

However, Clonmac's Bridge is only partially historical fiction. It has a multi-faceted plot which centres on T.V. Archaeologist, Griffin Clonmac, who has an overwhelming desire to find and raise the mythical and mysterious ninth century Bridge at Clonmacnoise.

There is a good sense of place in the novel and the reader is transported from one location to another as easily as the characters move around the globe. The story moves between Ireland, the U.S.A and South America with the ease of taking a tube ride from Green Park to Westminster. Indeed, the plot pops over to London from time to time as well.

The novel explores a variety of relationships between several of the main characters and in addition there are corporate jealousies, academic rivalries and political ambitions.

On the whole the main characters are a set of selfish, self-centred people who are motivated by pride, greed, lust and self-interest. Even the two main protagonists, Griffin Clonmac and Mari Quispe, the romantic leads, struggle at times to put their feelings for each other before their desires to be in control.

The relationship between Mari and her father, Casimiro Quispe, a Peruvian politico-gangster-fixer, provides the link in the novel between the present and the past. Mari is an ambitious feminist who struggles constantly against her father's mediaeval intentions that she should be docile, have an arranged marriage and provide an heir for the family dynasty.

The historical part of the novel could almost stand-alone but it provides a satisfying explanation for the mysteries of The Bridge which is held back until the end of the novel thus creating a strong finale for the book.

The parallels between the power-play of the mediaeval monastic world and that of contemporary academia is an interesting feature of the novel. And, in the modern world, the role of corporate sponsorship provides one of several intriguing sub-plots.

I enjoyed reading Clonmac's Bridge and once again admired author Jeffrey Perren's ability to get the reader to suspend disbelief and travel with him across continents and back through centuries in pursuit of a good yarn.

You can find out more about author Jeffrey Perren and get details of Clonmac's Bridge on his Amazon Author page here for U.S.A and here for U.K.