"Last Storyteller" Delaney knows how to get attention

Thu Feb 2, 2012 2:15pm EST
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By Andrea Burzynski

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Frank Delaney knows a surefire way to capture a person's attention. In fact, the New York Times bestselling author and former BBC broadcaster claims he can do it with only eight words.

"You say, 'Listen, I have a story to tell you,' and everybody's looking," he told Reuters.

In the "The Last Storyteller: A Novel of Ireland", being published on February 7, Delaney does just that -- grabs readers simply by telling stories. The final book of his historical fiction trilogy interweaves ancient legends with stories from his characters, while protagonist Ben McCarthy learns to make sense of his life by telling his own tales and those of others.

The novel follows McCarthy, a collector for Ireland's Folklore Commission, as he traverses the landscape of his country seeking stories. Along his journey, he tries to reunite with his estranged wife and falls into an uneasy friendship with an IRA gunrunner. Ben hears many myths and legends - often from an old masterful storyteller whom he seeks to emulate - and finds versions of these ancient tales playing out in his own life and in the lives of those around him.

"Legend echoes life, and life echoes legend all the time," Delaney told Reuters. "That's the theme of the book - that our own stories, no matter what they are, can be found always in legends and mythologies."

Delaney said the legends he incorporated into the book came from a variety of sources, including his own imagination.

"Some of the stories are from the very ancient past, some of them I embellished, and some I just plain made up," he said. "They're all there for a purpose, and they all move the story along in one way or another."