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Eclipse of the Sun

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In this fast-paced, reflective novel, (the third in a trilogy following Strangers and Sojourners and Plague Journal) Michael O'Brien presents the dramatic tale of a family that finds itself in the path of a totalitarian government. Set in the near future, the story describes the rise of a police state in North America in which every level of society is infected with propag In this fast-paced, reflective novel, (the third in a trilogy following Strangers and Sojourners and Plague Journal) Michael O'Brien presents the dramatic tale of a family that finds itself in the path of a totalitarian government. Set in the near future, the story describes the rise of a police state in North America in which every level of society is infected with propaganda, confusion and disinformation. Few people are equipped to recognize what is happening because the culture of the Western world has been deformed by a widespread undermining of moral absolutes. Against this background, the Delaney family of Swiftcreek, British Columbia, is struck a severe blow when the father of the family, the editor of a small newspaper which dares to speak the truth, is arrested by the dreaded Office of Internal Security. His older children flee into the forest of the northern interior, accompanied by their great-grandfather and an elderly priest, Father Andrei. Their little brother Arrow also becomes a fugitive as the government seeks to remove any witnesses, and eradicate all evidence of its ultimate goals. As O'Brien draws together the several strands of the story into a frightening yet moving climax, he explores the heart of growing darkness in North America, examining events which have already occurred. The reader will take away from this disturbing book a number of urgent questions: Are we living in the decisive moment of history? How dire is our situation? Do we live in pessimistic dread, or a Christian realism founded on hope? This is a tale about the victory of the weak over the powerful, courage over terror, good over evil, and, above all, the triumph of love.


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In this fast-paced, reflective novel, (the third in a trilogy following Strangers and Sojourners and Plague Journal) Michael O'Brien presents the dramatic tale of a family that finds itself in the path of a totalitarian government. Set in the near future, the story describes the rise of a police state in North America in which every level of society is infected with propag In this fast-paced, reflective novel, (the third in a trilogy following Strangers and Sojourners and Plague Journal) Michael O'Brien presents the dramatic tale of a family that finds itself in the path of a totalitarian government. Set in the near future, the story describes the rise of a police state in North America in which every level of society is infected with propaganda, confusion and disinformation. Few people are equipped to recognize what is happening because the culture of the Western world has been deformed by a widespread undermining of moral absolutes. Against this background, the Delaney family of Swiftcreek, British Columbia, is struck a severe blow when the father of the family, the editor of a small newspaper which dares to speak the truth, is arrested by the dreaded Office of Internal Security. His older children flee into the forest of the northern interior, accompanied by their great-grandfather and an elderly priest, Father Andrei. Their little brother Arrow also becomes a fugitive as the government seeks to remove any witnesses, and eradicate all evidence of its ultimate goals. As O'Brien draws together the several strands of the story into a frightening yet moving climax, he explores the heart of growing darkness in North America, examining events which have already occurred. The reader will take away from this disturbing book a number of urgent questions: Are we living in the decisive moment of history? How dire is our situation? Do we live in pessimistic dread, or a Christian realism founded on hope? This is a tale about the victory of the weak over the powerful, courage over terror, good over evil, and, above all, the triumph of love.

30 review for Eclipse of the Sun

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shzwah

    I picked up this book for 25 cents at Goodwill. Knew nothing about it, or the series that this novel is a part of (although each novel in the series also serves as a stand alone, so you aren't missing out if you start in the middle). It's a beautiful book that changed my opinions about the Catholic Faith and that had me literally cheering during one tense scene. I picked up this book for 25 cents at Goodwill. Knew nothing about it, or the series that this novel is a part of (although each novel in the series also serves as a stand alone, so you aren't missing out if you start in the middle). It's a beautiful book that changed my opinions about the Catholic Faith and that had me literally cheering during one tense scene.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Candise

    I can never say enough good things about this author. He is tremendously talented and thought-provoking. His works are deeply inspiring despite their gruesome and sometimes harrowing twists and turns.

  3. 4 out of 5

    John O'Brien

    I'm rating my father's novels here as a fan. I look forward to his books as much as anyone else, and find them deeply moving. I am not unaware of their flaws, but their strengths surpass them, and so abundantly, that I find them almost moot. I'm normally moved to the point of tears about 3-4 times per novel (If I find myself choked up only once, I tell him it's not his best work). He has a rare gift of penetrating deeply into spiritual truths, which is a reflection of the person he is -- an arti I'm rating my father's novels here as a fan. I look forward to his books as much as anyone else, and find them deeply moving. I am not unaware of their flaws, but their strengths surpass them, and so abundantly, that I find them almost moot. I'm normally moved to the point of tears about 3-4 times per novel (If I find myself choked up only once, I tell him it's not his best work). He has a rare gift of penetrating deeply into spiritual truths, which is a reflection of the person he is -- an artist who has been refined in a furnace of faith, not unlike many of his characters. "Eclipse of the Sun" is a futuristic scenario of increased totalitarianism in that most unlikely of places -- Canada. It's not a paranoid dystopian vision, but it does ask us to be vigilant about essential freedoms that are central to human flourishing. Mostly it's about the characters who live in this scenario. My father's tremendous compassion for humanity was first revealed to me in this novel, although it was present in his earlier ones: but it's the role of the anawim -- the hidden greatness in the hearts of people that society tends to overlook (God's poor) -- that captured me the most (Alice, Arrow, etc.). Many characters continue from the earlier novel "Plague Journal", which ideally should be read first.

  4. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    Finished it! I can't get over how timely this book is. How there is so much in this book which reminds me of what is happening in our world today although it is over 20 years old. O'Brien could see what was coming. It is a BRICK at 856 pages yet it never seemed long reading it, just awkward holding such a huge thing. This would be a book to read on kindle simply for size, especially if you have to share your lap with a cat. The thing which reminded me so much of today is how oblivious most peopl Finished it! I can't get over how timely this book is. How there is so much in this book which reminds me of what is happening in our world today although it is over 20 years old. O'Brien could see what was coming. It is a BRICK at 856 pages yet it never seemed long reading it, just awkward holding such a huge thing. This would be a book to read on kindle simply for size, especially if you have to share your lap with a cat. The thing which reminded me so much of today is how oblivious most people are to what is happening all around them, or should I say, they are so wrapped up in their own little worlds they have no idea what is going on. Throughout this book, the government was literally getting away with murder and people were either shocked to discover the corruption or they refused to believe it even when the evidence was right in front of them. They were so consumed with their own problems/entertainments/whatever they didn't have time to look beyond their own front door. It is sad and scary. And true. God help us all. Feb. 19, 2021: Just started it last night. Supposedly it is about a totalitarian Canadian govt. Not to be picking on our neighbors to the north as anyone who reads my reviews knows, I do not brag about my own country's govt.--all supposedly 'free' governments these days aren't. It will be interesting to read what O'Brien foresaw in 1997 and how close he came to what is happening now.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Fr. Ryan Humphries

    As I said before, a deep and profound book, perhaps too much so.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Wow! What an amazing ending to the series! Eclipse felt so real - not far fetched at all and I believe a warning to the West. Michael D O'Brien is the greatest Catholic writer alive Wow! What an amazing ending to the series! Eclipse felt so real - not far fetched at all and I believe a warning to the West. Michael D O'Brien is the greatest Catholic writer alive

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    a profound examination of freedom, truth, and religious observance.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    A remarkable read. Captivating; hard to put the book down. Will not disappoint. Bob

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I enjoyed this series. It was a thought-provoking futuristic series. This final one did not move as quickly as The Plague Journal, but O'Brien still created a huge cast of interesting and sympathetic characters. Still, nothing comes close to his breathtaking Island of the World. I enjoyed this series. It was a thought-provoking futuristic series. This final one did not move as quickly as The Plague Journal, but O'Brien still created a huge cast of interesting and sympathetic characters. Still, nothing comes close to his breathtaking Island of the World.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    This is no small book but I was amazed at how fast I flew through it. I consider it one of Michael O'Brien's best. This is no small book but I was amazed at how fast I flew through it. I consider it one of Michael O'Brien's best.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Abby Glann

    This book left me conflicted. I enjoyed the story and theme. Portions of the book were beautiful and stirring. I especially liked the Alice scenes and the ones with Frs. Ron and Raymond. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of O'Brien's writing style. The jump from short thoughts to lengthy sentences is jarring. The descriptions often do not aid the story. They feel more like lists rather scene building. The length was also more than I felt the story needed. Something just as beautiful could have been This book left me conflicted. I enjoyed the story and theme. Portions of the book were beautiful and stirring. I especially liked the Alice scenes and the ones with Frs. Ron and Raymond. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of O'Brien's writing style. The jump from short thoughts to lengthy sentences is jarring. The descriptions often do not aid the story. They feel more like lists rather scene building. The length was also more than I felt the story needed. Something just as beautiful could have been told in half as many pages. I think a 3.5 is closer to what I would rate the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heidi'sbooks

    A good read, but my least favorite of the series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nelleke Plouffe

    Island of the World was my first introduction to Michael O’Brien. It was a beautiful book, perhaps one of the best I’ve ever read. Since then I’ve also read Strangers and Sojourners, and this book. Both were disappointing after Island of the World. My expectations were raised too high, and it’s really too bad, because these books require a significant investment of time to read. I’m still going to read more O’Brien...I can’t give up because IotW was so amazing.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    The first half dragged a little bit but then the pace picked up. My favorite chapter was the thirteenth, when some priests and the bishop started waking up to the danger (evil) around them and the laity and they, the priests and bishop, started basically doing their jobs.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This terrifying future is so close we can taste it. Nevertheless, O'Briens novel is 3 parts hopeful to 2 parts horror. This terrifying future is so close we can taste it. Nevertheless, O'Briens novel is 3 parts hopeful to 2 parts horror.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Cozzi

    Amazing! The best book I ever read!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maurice Williams

    Michael D.O'Brien has written a six-novel series "Children of the Last Days." The first three novels form a trilogy within the series. "Eclipse of the Sun" is the third novel in the series. Each novel can be read and enjoyed on its own, but the reader will get more out of the first three if all three are read. The Delaneys live in an English-speaking Western society that has been rejecting its Christian roots and advocating a lifestyle at variance with Biblical morality. O'Brien's novels are "en Michael D.O'Brien has written a six-novel series "Children of the Last Days." The first three novels form a trilogy within the series. "Eclipse of the Sun" is the third novel in the series. Each novel can be read and enjoyed on its own, but the reader will get more out of the first three if all three are read. The Delaneys live in an English-speaking Western society that has been rejecting its Christian roots and advocating a lifestyle at variance with Biblical morality. O'Brien's novels are "end-times" novels posing the question "Are we in the end-times? Will we have to deal with the Antichrist?" He poses many situations we see in our own cultures and lets them flow to their ultimate conclusion: a totalitarian police state hostile to criticism and opposed to religious freedom or any collective recognition of God or the moral conduct we once thought God required from all of us. The government the Delaneys live under has openly endorsed abortion in all its forms, the legitimation of homosexuality and the rejection of traditional religious freedom. The government also endorses a new, worldwide religion comprising elements of all religions and subservient to the government, a tool, really, of the government. This third novel in the series takes place in the near future. The government has recently seized total control. The Antichrist is already on the scene in Europe. The government the Delaneys live under is already considering a one-world government with a one-world religion under this charismatic rising star in Europe. The novel covers about one year in the life of Arrow Delaney, an eight year old child pursued by the government because he witnessed a government massacre of a hippie commune he and his mother lived in and, on the same day, a second massacre in a nearby religious convent. Friends help him escape. He almost is captured, but escapes from the police van, hops a freight train and disappears. He tries hiding in a large junk yard, but the owner, Alice Douglas, discovers him. Alice takes him home. She has already rescued a retarded child from a dumpster where he had been discarded alive by the medical researchers no longer interested in studying him. Alice has some brushes with the state trying to protect Arrow. Finally, the state realizes she is harboring Arrow and sends agents to apprehend him. Alice holds the agents at gunpoint while Arrow escapes. Finally, Arrow finds a safe haven with a "remnant" group who wait out Antichrist's rise and fall. O'Brien is a talented writer, very good with dialog and narration. He tells an absorbing story of people like us coping with something few of us want. His thought-provoking novel challenges us what would we do under similar circumstances. In truth, we are living in similar circumstances. How far will we let things go before we realize what is at stake? At least two nations before us let things go too far: Germany and Russia. They paid dearly for it

  18. 4 out of 5

    Fr. Dominic Rankin

    It is difficult to sum up in a few hundred words the saga offered up by Michael O'Brien in this second installment of his series the Children of the Last Days. It remains in Canada, where much of A Cry of Stone (the first book in the series) was situated, but rather than following one character through ups and downs across a lifetime, this book narrows the time-scale to a matter of a few weeks and zooms out to follow the paths of several different individuals. A faithful priest, a lonely woman, It is difficult to sum up in a few hundred words the saga offered up by Michael O'Brien in this second installment of his series the Children of the Last Days. It remains in Canada, where much of A Cry of Stone (the first book in the series) was situated, but rather than following one character through ups and downs across a lifetime, this book narrows the time-scale to a matter of a few weeks and zooms out to follow the paths of several different individuals. A faithful priest, a lonely woman, a corrupt politician, a little boy, a large family, a searching bishop, and many more characters stride into the reader's imagination. O'Brien manages to maintain his astonishingly detailed accounting of their lives, characteristics, motivations, and surroundings while still offering the kind of story that not only draws you in, but sends you forth. What about you? Are you faithful? Are you forsaken? Are you fallen? Are you afraid? Are you frustrated?... fearful? ... feeling forsaken? Perhaps it is that last adjective that best captures this story. Every character, in different ways, at different times, steps into loneliness. How do they respond? We see every possible human response: seeking distractions, wallowing in distress, turning to demons, simply making demands, sinking into despair, plodding through the drudgery, turning to devotion, leaning into dependency... Amidst our own struggles and doubts and fears and situation and individuality, how easy it is to be overwhelmed? How many read the signs of the times and predict horrors, or utopia. Where is the path through it all? Well, to steal from the title O'Brien uses for this striking chapter in his apocalyptic saga, we find ourselves in an eclipse, of which all the above emotions, and responses, are perhaps reasonable. But in entering the lives found between that cover, we come out the other side with a confidence that does not come from ourselves, nor even from the returning sun, but rather from fact that, in the face of darkness, a different kind of light remains. In spite of an eclipse, rays of light from an unseen source remain with us.

  19. 5 out of 5

    David Woods

    This one was a little disappointing. O’Brien’s Island of the World is one of my FAVORITE books ever that oozes with beautiful Christian spirituality. After Island, I read Strangers & Sojourners which was no Island, but it was beautifully written. Then this one. I like his writing style and characters, but O’Brien seemed to have a bunch of agendas here and tipped his hand to what he believes true Christianity is. And his version of the remnant sure has a lot to do with right behavior and right be This one was a little disappointing. O’Brien’s Island of the World is one of my FAVORITE books ever that oozes with beautiful Christian spirituality. After Island, I read Strangers & Sojourners which was no Island, but it was beautifully written. Then this one. I like his writing style and characters, but O’Brien seemed to have a bunch of agendas here and tipped his hand to what he believes true Christianity is. And his version of the remnant sure has a lot to do with right behavior and right beliefs, and I mean beliefs above and beyond the gospel. The demonizing of so many things from tv to birth control to liberals to “unclean” books grew VERY tedious at best. This remnant of rule following orthodox Catholics and maybe a few Protestants will be small indeed. I can only hope that I’m reading too much into his fiction, and that I can take solace in the fact that he wrote Island of the World a decade after this one. And again: Island of the World is fantastic and beautiful and edifying. It’s actually hard to reconcile the two and my disparate feelings about them.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ian Mackay

    The trilogy is a masterpiece. Although not without faults eg minor inconsistencies etc., it is written with such passionate sincerity and purposefulness that it jumpstarts one's resolve to move from consumer to contributer in the spiritual life. It unrolls in a rapidly intensifying atmosphere of immediate and crucial relevance - it does what apocalyptic works set out to do, and does it brilliantly. The trilogy is a masterpiece. Although not without faults eg minor inconsistencies etc., it is written with such passionate sincerity and purposefulness that it jumpstarts one's resolve to move from consumer to contributer in the spiritual life. It unrolls in a rapidly intensifying atmosphere of immediate and crucial relevance - it does what apocalyptic works set out to do, and does it brilliantly.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Warner

    At times strange, at times disturbing, Eclipse of the Sun was an interesting read. There were a lot of parts that could have been cut, making the story more streamlined, and some things were just difficult to get through due to being information dumps. But my main problem with the book is that there were so many loose ends not tied up, and so many questions left unanswered.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pete Orsi

    This is the 5th novel I have read in the series Children of the Last Days series. Each one builds on the author’s primary belief that it is the little people , or sparrows, persevering in their faith lives that change history. I have always believed and have striven to join the Great Cloud of Witnesses and Michael O’Brien has deepened that desire.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    Such beauty in written words.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    Could not put this book down!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Danna

    Fantastic story telling. Couldn’t put this book down. It is well worth the time of reading Strangers and Sojourners + Plague Journal beforehand. High recommend.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Savannah Lyle

    I sortof have a think for post-apocalyptic books. Not my favorite Michael O'Brien book though, definitely think Island of the World is his best I sortof have a think for post-apocalyptic books. Not my favorite Michael O'Brien book though, definitely think Island of the World is his best

  27. 5 out of 5

    Isaac

    So many scenes from this book have stayed with me - the family on the "Osprey" (I want to go there), the weird old lady who smokes like a chimney and reads detective stories but has a great heart. The over sized baby who needs diaper changes and seems kinda gross but exudes Joy. This one might fly under the radar a bit in O'Brien's bibliography, but I really enjoyed it. So many scenes from this book have stayed with me - the family on the "Osprey" (I want to go there), the weird old lady who smokes like a chimney and reads detective stories but has a great heart. The over sized baby who needs diaper changes and seems kinda gross but exudes Joy. This one might fly under the radar a bit in O'Brien's bibliography, but I really enjoyed it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marla Poirier

    Have you ever re-read a book simply because you missed the characters? I've read this book four times. It's an immense novel, full of unforgettable characters and situations. As I live in the book's location, I'm well aware of the scenic elements, but it's the people in this book that haunt me, and draw me back to re-reading this again. As large as this book is, I read it to my husband, (like a radio show, using voices for all the characters) I particularly liked using a voice for the Queen of Ju Have you ever re-read a book simply because you missed the characters? I've read this book four times. It's an immense novel, full of unforgettable characters and situations. As I live in the book's location, I'm well aware of the scenic elements, but it's the people in this book that haunt me, and draw me back to re-reading this again. As large as this book is, I read it to my husband, (like a radio show, using voices for all the characters) I particularly liked using a voice for the Queen of Junque. It's a movie in my head every time I read this. It may be my favorite book of all time. Although Father Elijah comes in before or just after it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Regina Doman

    O'Brien plays to his weaknesses, not his strengths, in this nearly completely unbelievable tale of government and society spiraling towards the Apocalypse. Even I, who can usually believe anything of the Canadian government, had a hard time swallowing this one. It soured me on the whole apocalyptic genre. O'Brien plays to his weaknesses, not his strengths, in this nearly completely unbelievable tale of government and society spiraling towards the Apocalypse. Even I, who can usually believe anything of the Canadian government, had a hard time swallowing this one. It soured me on the whole apocalyptic genre.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

    The stunning conclusion to the beautiful trilogy, the Delaney's continue their flight from oppressive government authorities. It's been years since I read this one, yet vivid scenes remain with me about the power of community, compassion, and the difference one seeming "throw-away"life can make when love and value are given freely. The stunning conclusion to the beautiful trilogy, the Delaney's continue their flight from oppressive government authorities. It's been years since I read this one, yet vivid scenes remain with me about the power of community, compassion, and the difference one seeming "throw-away"life can make when love and value are given freely.

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