cover image Rite of Spring

Rite of Spring

Andrew M. Greeley. Warner Books, $18.45 (436pp) ISBN 978-0-446-51295-4

That extended Irish family, the Ryans, are back in Greeley's latest novel, and once again the world is divided into two kinds of womenthe embittered ones and the warm, motherly sortand two kinds of familiesthose who pull together against all odds, and those who exist in an emotional war zone. Behind mild Brendan Ryan is an unhappy ex-wife, an alienated and volatile teenage daughter, Jean, and a set of old friends who have truly seen better days. In a plot that aims to rework the search for the Holy Grail, Brendan is rejuvenated by love for a strapping Irishwoman, whose mysterious past comes to light when she disappears completely, stranding him in the midst of a police investigation into the bombing death of his ex-wife. He and his newly reconciled daughter follow Ciara's faint trail to an IRA splinter group that kidnaps Jean, turning Brendan into a gunslinging hero hellbent on rescuing his loved ones. Greeley marshalls plot lines with little reference to character development or plausibility, and even his staunchest fans are likely to be dismayed by stilted dialogue and repetitious sexual romps that are more embarrassing than erotic. (November 18)