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Summary

In this sweeping and powerful epic the journey begins in the "terrible beauty" of Northern Ireland during a time when conflict reigns and no one is spared from tragedy and sorrow, the time known as The Troubles.

It is the spring of 1968 in Belfast and James Kirkpatrick has just lost his father under suspicious circumstances, Casey Riordan is released from prison after five years and Pamela O'Flaherty has crossed an ocean and a lifetime of memories to find the man she fell in love with as a little girl. All three lives are on a collision course with each other against the backdrop of the burgeoning civil rights movement and a nation on the brink of revolution.

They come from disparate backgrounds - Jamie a wealthy aristocrat whose life is like an imperfect but multi-faceted jewel-brilliant, flawed and with a glitter that is designed to distract the observer. Casey, a card-carrying member of the Irish Republican Army, who must face the fact that five years away has left him a stranger, a misfit in his own neighborhood where not everyone is sympathetic to a convicted rebel. Pamela, who has come to Ireland in search of a memory and a man who may not have existed in the first place.

Through it all runs the ribbon of a love story: love of country, the beginning love of two people unable to resist the pull of each other regardless of the cost to themselves and those around them, and the selfless love of one man who no longer believes himself capable of such emotion.

It is an electrifying tale of a people divided by religion and politics, a tale of love and danger, of triumph and tragedy. Ultimately it is the story of that "terrible beauty" herself - Ireland - and how nation is bound to one's identity, woven into the weft of all we become.

©2001, 2012 Cindy Brandner (P)2017 Cindy Brandner

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The best book series ever!

Everything was fantastic. I love this series. The narrator brings the story to life. A must read/ listern to those who love historical fiction. Gripping all the way throughout.

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  • Christine Nemechek
  • 07-11-17

At long last!

Love the series and was anxiously awaiting the audible version so that I could have this intriguing and beautifully descriptive novel read to me by someone with a lovely Irish accent! Home run - the narrator is just perfect and I’m thrilled so far. May update after I’ve listened to the entire thing, but I’m sure it will only be to heap further praise upon both the author and her excellent choice of narrator!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-01-18

Brilliant choice of a narrator

What made the experience of listening to Exit Unicorns the most enjoyable?

Gary Furlong, as the narrator made the listening experience incredible. I loved his voice and he was absolutely brilliant in his reading of the book. He literally made the characters jump out at you with the voices he put to them. The narrator can either make or ruin the books you listen to. I've had several good story's ruined, just by the narrator that was chosen for that particular book. Not so in this case!

What did you like best about this story?

I love that this story was based on true historical events in Ireland, in the not so distant past. Though the characters are supposed to be fictional, they could have actually been real. I enjoy the way Cindy Brandner writes her stories, you feel everything from heartache to passion and everything in between. For me, reading / listening to the book, took me directly to Ireland and placed me in the midst of the story.

Which character – as performed by Gary Furlong – was your favorite?

My favorite character performed by Gary, had to be hands down....Casey! Though I love Jamie, Pamela & Pat, just as equally. The voice he gave Casey, was exactly how I would have expected it to be from when I first read the book several years ago.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

To pick only one or two moments in the book that moved or captivated me is almost impossible. From start to finish, it gripped my heart strings and never let go.

Any additional comments?

Being a huge Outlander fan, I had a hard time finding books that really touched me deep within after reading the series. I accidentally stumbled across The Exit Unicorn Series, and was hooked from the very first book. Cindy is an exceptional and heartfelt writer, she is in the same league as Diana Gabaldon, as far as I'm concerned.
Using Gary Furlong, as the narrator was simply genius! I loved reading the book series, but listening to him read, was such a marvelous experience, it made me love the book that much more. I cannot wait for Mermaid in a Bowl of Tears to come out.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • R. Boehm
  • 01-10-18

loved the story and the storyteller

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cindy Brandner's Exit Unicorn series
Now I am thrilled to listen to Gary Furlong read them to me.

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  • Tracyann
  • 01-09-18

EXCELLENCE

As Entertained and spellbound as I was with the written book. BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO !!!

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  • KABarth
  • 14-08-18

The Best

Gary Furlong, Cindy Brandner's Exit Unicorns narrator, is THE BEST I have ever listened to. I forgot how much I loved to be read to. It goes without saying that I love the Exit Unicorns series. Wanting something to do while I draw, I have listened to music and watched my iPad. But I have had so many bad audio book experiences, I was very hesitant to try this. Some voices are not meant to be heard for long durations, no matter how much you enjoy the content of the book. I had earned some free credits on my amazon prime audio account, so I thought, well, let's try ONE more time. If you are reading/hearing this book for the first time, or if you are like me, a fan and listening for the first time, you will not be disappointed. Gary doesn't make women sound like cackling hens or project these huge voice variations for different characters. His intonation changes, but at just the right, pleasant level, that it makes the story interesting and easy to follow. The next book, "Mermaid in a Bowl of Tears" (next in the series) just came out for purchase. Can't wait to hear that as well!

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  • Jennifer A. Dezeeuw
  • 31-07-18

Lovely Story with a captivating narrator!

Hauntingly epic love story that is wrapped around unforgettable characters: James Kirkpatrick, Pamela O'Flaherty, Casey and Patrick Riordan that lavishly evokes the land and history of Ireland during the Northern Ireland Conflict. Absolutely loved the book and was so excited to listen to the Audible version. I tend to read rather quickly and the audio version helped me to really listen to all of the words, which in turn made me realized I had missed some important parts of the book. Gary Furlong has a wonderful Irish lilt to his voice, which draws you in. I thought he captured the essence of each character in a delightful way. I felt like I was sitting in the background of the scenes as a silent witness to a fantastic story. I could listen to Gary’s voice all day long! I can’t wait for Mermaid in a Bowl of Tears to come out on Audible.com.

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  • Laurie Nearing
  • 30-07-18

2nd time round I I still love it!<br />

i read this 5 years ago. I just finished listening to it. Amazing either way!

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  • Jackie
  • 08-07-18

Fractured story with no character depth

I managed to finish it, but I regret the waste of my time. The characters had no depth, and the plot jumped around so much I couldn't keep track. The narrator's tone and cadence were monotonous and repetitive. He lulled me to sleep quickly, which contributed to my confusion about where the story was going.

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  • reh
  • 06-06-18

Excellent Performance

Cindy Brandner’s story and series is one of my favorites; so, I looked forward to the audio version. Gary Furlong did not disappoint. Each voice is unique to the character, easily distinguishable. Hearing the story told by the characters was absorbing. I eagerly await Mermaid in a Bowl of Tears. If you like history well-told with well-defined characters, you’ll enjoy this book.

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  • Megs
  • 17-03-18

A remarkable story, a great reading.

This has been the best Audible book I've ever enjoyed. I've been listening to Audible books for years now, and have read this series several times before the Audible version of Exit Unicorns came out.

While anxiously and patiently (yes, it's possible!) awaiting the next n the series I had the opportunity to download this unabridged version and enjoyed revisiting the beginning of the series.

I read fairly fast, and tend to gulp books down without chewing (so to speak). Listening to a book, however, enables me to slow down and really grasp all the nooks and crannies, the nuance, the flavor.

Preferring descriptive writers, I have been enormously satisfied to crawl into this book and live there for a time.

As the characters became known to me I became invested in them. At times I've wanted to slap them silly, warn them, comfort them or even offer advice. I've never felt that way about a fictional character before, just been a passive observer. Perhaps it is in part the most excellent narration by Gary Furlong, someone I've never listened to before. It's unbelievable that a man can so distinctively narrate so many different characters. I've had no problem keeping the dialog straight in my mind so far as who was whom in the conversations.

Politics in novels has not thrilled me in the past, and my knowledge of Irish politics was next to nothing. Only vague memories of the bombings in London in the mid 1970's. This book got my curiosity whetted and I've done some further non-fiction reading since.

Like any long and descriptive book, there were a few parts that didn't light my fire, but in all fairness I can say that about Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, and also Mary Stewart's Crystal Cave series, two favorites of mine.

That an indie writer is even comparible to a mainstream author is testimony to her talent. I hope to see much more of Cindy Brandner, and hear much more of Gary Furlong.