Books published since 1999

The Chain That Binds the Earth

Self-published 2015. Revised 2019, for launch of second edition – May 31st, 2020

As the world tumbles Trumpwards towards the Coronavirus crisis of 2020, Johnny Mullan wants to understand bullying – and not just the school corridor kind.

Margaret Phillips is troubled by the gathering threat to the Earth environment, and determined to do something about that.

Eddy Li is fascinated by crime, one crime in particular.

Mary McNevin writes music to deal with a family legacy of hurt from three decades of civil conflict.

When these four meet in their first year at their second-level school – Iona College – they come to the conclusion that all of the major problems that interest them have a common source. When they argue their case in a school debate they find themselves opposed by a senior teacher.

They discover that their school is itself divided, and are faced with an important choice. Challenged to abandon their own strongest convictions, Johnny, Margaret, Eddy and Mary stand firm – not knowing how this will affect their friendship and the rest of their lives.


“Unputdownable and utterly brilliant.”  David Brussard (14), Loreto College, Coleraine

” The plot was gripping and I didn’t want to stop reading.”  Cáit Passmore (14), Loreto College Coleraine

A remarkable book with a vision for the future. The author demonstrates a detailed, deep and sympathetic understanding of a society that is still struggling to deal with the past never mind moving into the future…. A wonderful book that is deserving of the widest audience and consideration.”  Aidan Donaldson, The Irish Catholic, August 27th, 2015

Review by Susan Ross of the Raven Foundation.

Launch address by Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry, Dec 4th, 2015.

All profits and royalties to be donated to the cause of the mental health of young people in Northern Ireland.

To buy ‘The Chain That Binds the Earth’ click here.



Scattering the Proud
Columba Press, Dublin, 1999
A reflection on the dual world crisis – the secular crisis of optimism and of values, and the crisis of Christianity, starved by fundamentalism of intellectual respectability.


Solomon’s Gift Self-published 2004
What exactly is wisdom, and how does it differ from knowledge? An exploration of the key reality of mimetic desire and how it so deeply affects our behaviour. This book is also a simple introduction to the revolutionary ideas of the French intellectual, René Girard.

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5 thoughts on “Books

  1. I once attended a lecture given by a distinguished psychologist and he mentioned René Girard’s Desire, Deceit and the Novel. In this book Girard describes mimetic theory and argues that we imitate the desires of other people more that we copy their actions.

  2. Many thanks, Brenda. That’s fascinating. By far the best account of Girard’s entire hypothesis is in Wolfgang Palaver’s ‘René Girard’s Mimetic Theory’ (Michigan State University, 2013). In itself this is a wonderful degree course on the history of western thinking about the origins of violence.

    At present I am working on a novel for children. It asks ‘what if some children could notice they are copying one another, even in initiating bullying – and become troubled by that? What might happen then – e.g. in History and RE classes? What might they get up to. It seems to be working out – and I am very caught by it.

    Notice also that the Tao asks ‘why do we desire what others desire?’ The answer has something to do with the fragility of our self-esteem, I think – and that too may be discovered in that story.

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