The Key to Kells

Fiction - Thriller - General
341 Pages
Reviewed on 09/23/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anelynde Smit for Readers' Favorite

The Key to Kells by Kevin O’Connor is an exciting read. We follow Key Murphy, an almost police officer, who gets visions of an old Irish monk who fought against the Vikings and saved a treasure. The valuable object is a book, the Book of Kells. Highly decorative, this was a rare object. Some of its pages that were torn out were clues to the location of a great treasure that is said would unite all of Ireland. The visions seem to run in the Murphy family bloodline, a genetic mutation that allows them to see through the eyes of others in the Murphy clan line. Mack Murphy was the most recent to find the treasure and hide cryptic clues to its location. They follow the clues and try to find the treasure but they are not the only ones. Padraig Collins is also after the treasure and the book, his motives being something entirely different and he will use any method to get what he wants. Along with Arin Murphy, a Jamaican professor, and Buck, a long-term friend and colleague, Key tries his best to avoid being killed and find the long-lost treasure. Will Key find the treasure before Padraig? Could the treasure be the Holy Grail?

The Key to Kells by Kevin O’Connor was an action-packed read for me. I loved the character of Key and his visions. I loved how all the Murphy clan got these visions and it wasn’t just him. It made for an interesting story idea. A genetic mutation was something I didn’t expect to see and it was a good twist. I adored the character of Buck too, the ever-present big brother figure that only had Key’s best interests at heart. Some shocking twists and turns waited for me and I loved every second of it. The action sequences were delightfully detailed as well, and the fighting and the treasure hunting were fun to read. Padraig was your not-so-typical bad guy, which made him interesting. Each character in this book played an important role. I found myself loving each character in their own unique way. I highly recommend this book; it was a joy to read. Absolutely a good read.

Delene Vrey

The Key of Kells by Kevin O'Connor tells the story of Ciàn Murphy, a child prodigy of many skills that came quickly and disappeared, leaving him depressed. He is now grown up and has vivid dreams that seem more like memories than dreams. When he finally confides in his parents, he learns that he comes from a line of Murphys to have these experiences. The belief is that long ago, one of their ancestors helped save the famous Book of Kells from Norse invaders, burying treasure that could potentially unite the fractured Irish people. As the search for more clues ensues, Ciàn meets a distant relative in Jamaica, and together, they travel between the US and Ireland in search of the treasure their ancestors trusted them to find. Will Key, as his friends know him, prove to be the key the ancestors promised?

The novel is an exciting story that takes a hard look at the displacement of people in the past. It touches on slavery and the fates of indentured servants who were also taken from their homes and sent across the sea to work in the fields of the wealthy and privileged. The book has a strong theme of Irish patriotism and justice. Further, the book has themes of loss, betrayal, loyalty, and redemption. It is an exciting adventure that promises to provide an entertaining and somewhat educational read. The Key to Kells by Kevin O'Connor is an excellent way to spend some time relaxing with just enough to keep you intellectually occupied.

Kim Anisi

When a novel like The Key to Kells by Kevin O'Connor promises to tell the story of a mystery surrounding an ancient book, my curiosity is usually piqued. In this book, readers follow Key Murphy, his friends, and his family on their journey to recover the cover and some pages from the Book of Kells. It’s not like any other hunt for the missing pages, because Key’s family is unique. Their DNA allows them to see the memories of their ancestors, who were the people who last saw where these missing items went. The missing pages, which alone are worth a fortune, are not the only treasure waiting to be found. Unfortunately for Key, there are also others after the book and they are not afraid of using violence.

I quite enjoyed reading The Key to Kells by Kevin O'Connor even though there were a few predictable moments in the plot, especially the romantic part of it. Unfortunately, romance had to play a role in this novel to up the stakes. I wasn’t much of a fan of the parts when the point of view changed over to the other characters (no spoilers, but characters other than the protagonist), but the actual plot was exciting and had a few nice twists and turns. I spent a few reading sessions in the world of Key and his ancestors and mostly enjoyed the ride. I was pleasantly surprised about the lack of grammar and spelling mistakes as you can't take good editing for granted these days.