The great Irish famine of the 1840s was truly a form of Armageddon for Ireland. Starvation, diseases and deaths on an massive scale coupled with degrading evictions, disgusting workhouses, permanent family breakups by emigration and further deaths and appalling conditions on the emigrant "coffin ships" for those who could sell all they had to afford the passage to America. Over time the direct and indirect effects of this period in our history reduced the population of Ireland by many millions of people to about half of it's pre-famine levels.
There are few novels which cover this pivotal time so well with such a variety of the raw descriptions badly needed to be exposed. The author has researched his subject properly. It is no easy task to integrate not just minute historical details but also nineteenth century phraseology, customs and attitudes. Very commendable also is the accurate nautical and maritime information from the period coming from a man who admits to being a landlubber. I've been impressed by Joseph O'Connor's writing skills for some time. I think this work is his greatest achievement to date and will be respected forever as one of the great important classics of historical literature. As a novel and a story it is a truly captivating read and one's soul is also left indelibly imprinted with many of the savage details and implications of a very important part of Irish history.
A highly recommended read for everyone and especially Irish people and those in USA of Irish descent from 19th century emigration.