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IMG_4818 Duke in the mask.jpg

Cover photo credit: Wendy Cotie, Big Picture Studio, Arnprior, Ontario.  

Secondary photo credit: Red Gate Photography

Orkney: a Novel

by Maggie Toner

For Fans of the Red Gate Livery, you may recognize one or two of the characters in this book.  Read and look for Suzy, Silver (Ceasar), and Shannon (Goliath) in the story.

Live Book Reading 
September 22, 2022.
Almonte Library

155 High Street, Almonte, Ontario



This book took me longer to read than most books [too] (sic). But in a good way. I had to let pieces of the story digest. A couple of the turns in the book made me upset originally or didn't go the way I wanted them to, but as I went on with the book I realized The importance of them to the story as a whole. I ended the book feeling satisfied, although sad to be done with the lives of these wonderful characters

Goodreads reviewer, rated 5/5

Loved this! A beautiful exploration of family, karma, reincarnation, and the connections between souls. Highly recommend.

Goodreads Reviewer, rated 5/5

I see reviews that speak of reincarnation, but the sense I get from Orkney is more of a stream of consciousness that flows through the various generations, and like time itself, the images become clearer the closer they are to the present. .......

Some of the events are startling, some are brutal, but the characters are treated with empathy and respect, and if you take your time reading, you will come to know them and miss them when the saga concludes. 

Four brothers from Iron Age Orkney die almost simultaneous deaths in battle. The energy of their passing is so extreme that they are bound together through time and develop both themselves and each other.

Have you ever pondered the idea of reincarnation? Not whether you believe it, because none of us will know until it's much to late to tell our friends and family! If there is such a thing as reincarnation, a concept deeply believed in by several faiths, then what does that imply? Who were you? Where did you start? Through what worlds have you passed? And who around you that you love now (or maybe not) was there with you?

There are two main themes in "Orkney: A Novel". The first is the idea that love, hate, and experience can follow us through multiple lifetimes, a concept called Karma. This concept could explain, for example, why I am absolutely terrified of sharks. Or not. Our four brothers from Iron Age Orkney, have a bond to one another because of their life experiences that they shared in that first lifetime. Or their first lifetime together. We see them as they traverse through diverse settings and eras learning from new experiences and both supporting and influencing each other.

The second theme is the relationship between humanity and horses, and the connection they can share in the event that relationship is indulged and developed. Throughout time, that relationship has actually devolved until we have sidelined horses into a source of sport and entertainment in favour of industrialization and mechanization. It was never my intention to criticize this process but simply to chronicle the event.

The setting of the book progresses from Orkney to Roy Bridge, Scotland; to Lismore, Ireland; Chaffee's Locks, Ontario: and finally to Fredericton, New Brunswick. It starts during the Iron Age and ends in the 20th century.

This is an adult book, not something to be given to a teenager. There is no aspect of life that is ignored; heterosexuality, homosexuality, love, violence and death. These are real concepts that we live with every day and as such this book is a reflection of real life. If there is a part of the story that upsets you or makes you uncomfortable, by all means, skip it.

In the words of the Beatles, "Dear Sir or Madam will you read my book, it took me years to write will you take a look". You can read it. Or not. But it has been a deeply enriching three years, and has definitely contributed, in one way or another, to my Karma. And do watch the book trailer, located on my Author's page. We had a lot of fun creating it.

Goodreads Reviewer, Rated 4/5