The Rock of Achill

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
350 Pages
Reviewed on 10/24/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I farm and ranch in South Dakota. I am a graduate of Lake Forest College. As an author, I mostly write bits of Irish myth that become trapped in the 19th century. I'm developing a new tale that follows my first book, The Rock of Achill.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

The Rock of Achill is a fantasy story set at the dawn of 19th century Ireland. Jim Sheehan's novel follows a young man named Donn in his quest to reclaim his family land so that he can build a future with his love, Bridget. Donn gets acquainted with Cathal O'Ruaire and his band of rebels and joins them on their journey to reclaim the long-lost sword of Nuada and restore the glory and ways of the Irish kings. Accompanied by his majestic horse, Croaghaun, Donn quickly rises through the ranks of the Irish knights as he showcases exemplary prowess in battle. They encounter numerous creatures from Irish mythology on their travels. Will Donn succeed in his quest? Will Bridget wait for him?

Despite being a fantasy tale, The Rock of Achill is a story of star-crossed lovers at its core. The relationship between Donn and Bridget drives the narrative. Jim Sheehan manages to convey the longing, heartache, and loneliness of his lovers beautifully. Donn's letters to Bridget are particularly heartbreaking. I found the worldbuilding to be of the highest order. Sheehan captures the very essence of Irish mythology as he creates a world that is not only full of wonder but, at times, is also terrifying. I was also pleasantly surprised by the thematic depth of the book as The Rock of Achill seems to raise an important question; "Are ideals more important to humans than their loved ones?" I thoroughly enjoyed The Rock of Achill. I would recommend it to fans of both fantasy and romance.

K.C. Finn

The Rock of Achill is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy, action, and adventure sub-genres, and was penned by author Jim Sheehan. Written for adult reading audiences, the work does contain scenes of graphic violence pertinent to the action of the plot as well as some sexual scenes and references. We find ourselves amidst a world of mythical creatures, dangers, and the quest for glory in this odyssey-style Irish fantasy novel set just after the turn of the nineteenth century. Noble warrior Donn joins a quest for an ancient land in order to make himself a man worthy of the beautiful Bridget’s hand in marriage, but first, he must survive the magical and mythical horrors which await him over the sea.

Author Jim Sheehan has crafted a fantastic, immersive, and truly unique work of pseudo-historical fantasy, and one which fans of myths and legends will be sure to adore from cover to cover. I found myself truly gripped by the worldbuilding and atmosphere, which comes about in every facet of Sheehan’s writing, from the authentic touches of the Irish dialogue to the vivid descriptive lexis employed to set every scene. This novel delivers on visceral action scenes with all guts and all glory firmly at the center stage, but it also features some fantastically tender moments and a true emotional heart in Donn’s mission to win fair Bridget and return to her someday. Overall, fans of classic hero quests with slick, cinematographic action and adventure should certainly pick up The Rock of Achill as their next fantasy read.

Vincent Dublado

The Rock of Achill by Jim Sheehan is an engaging fantasy adventure set in the days of mythical Ireland. Rich in antiquity, fantasy, and beauty, it follows the story of Lorcan and his son, Donn, who embarks on a mission to buy back his family land. He joins a sailing crew led by Cathal, whose men are composed of knights, rebels, and those he had liberated from indentured service. Together, they set sail on a perilous adventure to restore an ancient kingdom. Donn hopes to return to Bridget, the woman he loves, as a man transformed and made greater by his experience, so that he may become worthy of her hand in marriage. That is if he survives the journey.

The Rock of Achill is a well-crafted fantasy epic written in the tradition of Irish mythology. Sheehan captures the dialogue of a mythical period with poetic grace. This is a Celtic adventure on a par with Jason and the Argonauts. The mission Donn and the crew of the ship Perilous undertake is rich in information concerning the beliefs and customs of the Celtic races that form the basic element of this story. This is not just an adventure story for the sake of seeking thrills. The narrative is rich in empathy when it comes to exploring relationships among characters, especially that of Donn with his father, with Bridget, and with his crewmates. This tense storytelling with larger-than-life portraits of heroes and villains rendered with a keen eye for details is a book worth your reading time.

Tammy Ruggles

The Rock of Achill by Jim Sheehan is an unforgettable fantasy novel. Centering on mythical Ireland and its characters--Donn, Bridget, Irish knights, demons, witches, fairies, and others--you will be transported into a time when an adolescent boy strives to reclaim the property his family owned. But he has to leave Bridget, a girl he'd fallen in love with, on an island in order to accomplish his mission. He wants to propose to her as a landowner when he gets back. Donn's travels are treacherous as he encounters mythical creatures and the sea. Set during the time of Napoleon, Donn and other Irish rebels fight for God and freedom, but will he survive to return to Bridget, and if he does, will she be waiting for him?

This author truly transports you into a believable world with realistic characters, vivid descriptions, and a plot that compels you to read until the end and still want more. The way Sheehan describes the countryside and the sea makes you want to be there, and the love story he created for Donn and Bridget is a classic drama that pulls at your heartstrings. The character of Donn is heroic. He's young but determined and fights formidable obstacles just to regain his land and win the woman he loves. The suspense of whether they unite keeps you invested in the story, and the action scenes with the knights, pirates, fairies, and guardians are tense. The other characters are well-drawn, and you learn more about the Irish legends. There is some violence, but it's necessary for the plot. You can easily see this play out in your imagination like a movie, and this is a testament to Sheehan's talent as a writer. You'll be thoroughly entranced by this story, so be sure to put The Rock of Achill by Jim Sheehan on your to-read list.

Rabia Tanveer

The Rock of Achill by Jim Sheehan is an epic fantasy with twists and turns that will make you fall in love. Set in the early 19th century, Donn joins a group of Irish knights and rebels in the hopes of getting the money to return home a rich man. He needs to get his family land back and wants to be rich enough to marry his beloved Bridget. When Donn is knighted, he sets his eyes on the lost treasure of Tuatha de Danann. However, getting that treasure is not easy, especially when Donn has to face many legendary creatures before he can even reach the treasure. Does Donn have what it takes to overcome pesky pirates and dangerous creatures hell-bent on destroying Donn before he reaches the treasure? Will Donn ever get back home and win Bridget?

The Rock of Achill is definitely a fascinating and entertaining novel for adult readers. Penned with a command over the narrative, author Jim Sheehan gives the readers myths, legends, and the right amount of fantasy to interest them and not overwhelm them. The author conveys emotions brilliantly. You can feel the longing and sadness in Donn’s heart for Bridget and hope that he can one day return to her to claim her heart as well as her hand in marriage. The plot is packed with action, there is never a lull in the story, and Donn has ample opportunities to grow. I love the pace and the graphic descriptions; I love the dialogues and how they drive the story forward. This is a must-read novel!


Jim Sheehan wrote a thrilling fantasy book full of mystery and mystic. I really enjoyed it! You keep connecting with all the characters which is not easy. It is very hard for an author to create empathy between the reader and the characters, but you can expect it in ‘The Rock of Achill’. Also, have you seen this awesome cover?

The book portrays the challenges that Donn and Bridget have to overcome in order to get their most desired wish (being together and conquer love). The story also takes place in Ireland, a place that I would love to visit and therefore enjoyed so much reading about the landscapes and traditions. We have another character, Lorcan that to me it is the perfect hero of an epic poem, like Lusíadas, Odyssey or Iliad.

I recommend this book as it has a mix folklore, mythical creatures and mystery for you to think about exploitation and how sometimes we are pawns, and we don’t even know it. Jim did a wonderful job describing the many characters personalities and also the illustrations are marvelous. I wasn’t expecting for them to be so ‘real’ and scary.

To me this book is a must for this fall. You can expect a roller coaster of emotions. Believe me when I tell you that it is addictive. You can expect so many great moments that I had to take a break from reading.