The village of Troy - three old houses at the bottom of Croagh Patrick, overlooking Clew Bay - was a dull, quiet place: until Grainne arrived. She came from Clare Island to keep house for Pakey O'Donnell. Eighteen years old, a beautiful petite dark haired woman with a lively spirit, she was a brilliant portrait and landscape painter. Within a year she gave birth to a lovely little boy that she called Diarmuid. That's when the chatter began: Who was the father? Pakey said he was. Festy, in his thirty's, rugged affable outgoing blonde neighbour, said he was. Mickelin, of similar age, strongly built, furtive with brooding hooded eyes, said he was. Grainne refused to marry any of them or disclose - if she knew - the identity of the father. Two years later Pakey died in Castlebar hospital. Geologist, Joseph Melody, had spent ten years in southern Bolivia where as CEO and majority shareholder of Melody Mining Inc, he operated the very profitable Kariba silver mine.
When the country's leader, President Suarez, announced his intention to nationalise TTM Inc - American owners of the world's largest Zinc and Copper mines, he was quickly replaced - in a CIA covert operation - by de Sucre, a brutal military dictator. De Sucre's rise to power was inspired by Pierre Lazels, the ambitious unscrupulous CEO of TTM who had plans of his own, which included getting control of Melody Mining. Unhappy with developments in Bolivia, Joe Melody (known as Yank) travelled to Ireland where he bought a period residence at Old Head on Clew bay. He brought in his old friend Mario Casana and his survey team, to explore the entire south-west Mayo area. Now, two years later, he received the assay report and said farewell to Mario. Delighted with the results, he met the locals in Ned Sheerin's pub in Murrisk. There he announced that his survey team had discovered a gigantic silver mine under Pakey O'Donnell's strip of land on the reek. He had an EU mining license that required he purchase the land before he could commence mining. He offered to buy the site for ten million US Dollars. The local Canon was furious: no way would he allow mining on the holy mountain.
But the main problem was acquisition of the land. To establish the identity of the owner became a saga all by itself. If Yank couldn't buy the land his mining license was worthless. In the meantime, the people of Bolivia, led by Juan Nogara - a former employee of Melody Mining - were involved without modern weapons in a hopeless struggle against de Sucre. Lazels had his own contacts in the Westport area. He secretly thwarted Yank's every move. At his suggestion, de Sucre sent his army to close the Kariba mine and precipitate a financial crisis that would force Yank to sell his shares or face liquidation of the company he founded. Lazels holds all the aces: Yank is cornered with no way out.
A native of Co. Mayo, the author lives in Dublin with his wife. They have one son, three daughters and eight grand-children.