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An American heritage story, the Saga of the Magoffin and O'Dwyers and the diaspora from Ireland circa 1800 to America, Australia, Jamaica, and Mexico is chronicled in ASCENDANCY. It is a story of Triumph over Tragedy and of two families that cross paths in Ireland at a very turbulent time and again in America, eventually to intermarry. A Saga filled with action and romance, the story is one of History and Fiction Genre in which fiction and non-fiction is woven connecting many historical people and events in a fight against tyranny and oppression and for liberty, freedom, and even survival. It is a story that includes religious overtones and freedom, deals with the issue of slavery, and points to the way America expanded Westward. There is much tragedy and hardship to overcome in this unabashed description of many real and fictional characters and events, a story that reveals a common thread in many migration and heritage stories which continues today just as it did then. The Magoffins and O'Dwyers made significant contributions in Ireland first, and then to the American theme and dream as well as to other places like Australia, Jamaica, and Mexico. The strength of human character, courage, and perseverance is demonstrated in ASCENDANCY as normal people and families overcome great adversity to find peace and prosperity in a new world that they themselves create. Ingredients for success include a portion of the spiritual found in all of us.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.25 out of 10


Plot/Idea: History lovers will relish this descent into Irish heritage that follows a family across generations, as they encounter heartache, hardship, and success. Dwyer weaves fact with fiction, and despite a slow start, the novel quickly picks up speed, but it never loses focus on the details essential to the plot.

Prose: Dwyer melds animated dialogue with satisfying character interactions to create a rich saga, and he manages to avoid history lessons in favor of a passionate immigration story with generational impacts. 

Originality: Ascendancy is classic historical fiction, though Dwyer includes photographs and illustrations throughout to bring the story to life. 

Character Development/Execution: Hopeful and optimistic characters form the backbone of the story, as they interact at various levels of government, church, and society. Dwyer chooses conversation and interactions amongst the cast as the main vehicle for action, and overcoming adversity is a central theme for the primary characters. 

Date Submitted: August 25, 2022