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Mahoney: Historical Fiction

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#1 Andrew Joyce

Andrew Joyce

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 03:28 PM

I need all the help I can get. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.





A Synopsis


It started as a dream … a dream of a place where no one ever went hungry and fine Irish whiskey flowed from fountains, a land of good and plenty. But first, the nightmare had to be endured.


In the second year of an Gorta Mhór—the Great Famine—nineteen-year-old Devin Mahoney, the descendant of kings, is the last of his family left alive. His only hope for any kind of a future is to get to America and start a new life. But first he has to survive the dangerous ocean voyage on a “coffin ship.” Once in America, Devin runs afoul of a murderous gang and must run for his life. Eventually, he finds work as a laborer for the railroad in Pennsylvania. He prospers, marries the beautiful Mary Callahan, and has a son, Dillon. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Devin feels duty-bound to fight for his adopted country and goes off to war where he is mortally wounded.


It now falls to his son, Dillon, to establish the Mahoney clan in America.


On his way to California to make a new start, Dillon steps off the train during a water stop in a small Western town where he makes an enemy of a local gunslinger. Dillon cannot escape the problem; he has to face it head on. Before he can take a stand against his nemesis, the killer shoots him in the back and leaves him for dead. When Dillon recovers, he sets out after his assailant and along the way makes a name for himself as the new fast-gun in the territory. After a showdown with the killer, Dillon heads to California to escape his reputation and becomes rich in the oil business. He, too, has a son, David.


Dillon spoils David to the point where he thinks the world owes him a living. Father and son become estranged when David turns twenty-one and comes into an inheritance from his maternal grandfather. They do not speak again until years later when the bottom falls out of the stock market. Now broke, David goes to his father for financial assistance. However, Dillon, on the brink of death, has also lost everything in The Crash and is unable to help. David curses his father and heads back to New York and an uncertain future.


At age thirty-five, without funds, without any marketable skills, and out on the street, David, the most unlikely of the Mahoneys, is the one tasked with fulfilling his grandfather’s dream.


Months later, while standing in a soup line, a despondent David meets a freelance journalist who offers him a job as a kind of assistant. The journalist is investigating why a town in Florida, with a population of three hundred and fifty-five “Negroes” and no whites according to the 1920 census, had, by 1930, not a single resident. The town is not even listed in the census. (Based on a true story.) David, weary of life on the streets, eagerly accepts the job.


On the way to Florida, David comes across information that his father might have been a famous gunman but refuses to believe it.


Once in Florida, the Yankees are warned away, but when they persist in their investigation, drastic steps are employed by the town’s people to preserve their secret. Dillon and his employer barely escape with their lives. But they get the story.


The experience matures David, and at thirty-six, he is finally a man. He now feels an affinity for the poor and downtrodden, a class of people he once despised. He becomes a photojournalist and finds his calling as he travels the railways and highways, seeking out those disadvantaged by the Great Depression, telling their stories through his pictures. During his travels, he searches out information about his father and over time, pieces together the story of Dillon Mahoney. A story he knew nothing about.


During the war, David is sent to the Pacific Theater, and the pictures he sends home make him famous. After the war, he meets the love of his life, marries, and has five children, four boys and a girl. In 1963, he’s in Washington to hear Martin Luther King deliver his I Have a Dream speech. He thinks back to his grandfather and his dream. It has taken three generations for the Mahoneys to get a firm foothold in America, but now that they are here and well-established, the progeny of Devin Mahoney will fulfill his dream. Of that, David John Mahoney, son of Dillon Mahoney and the descendant of kings, has no doubt.

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