Excerpt from Red Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Red Sky in Morning

by Paul Lynch

Red Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Nov 2013, 288 pages
    Oct 2014, 304 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Naomi Benaron

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Up ahead, they heard a dog barking and then the shape of a hound. Macken called out in recognition and not a word from Faller but his eyes were on the dark beast and he went towards it, the dog barking enthusiastically as if it were in its power to speak directly to the giant man.

Later, when the clouds had rolled over and the darkening pallor of evening began to fall, they dragged the body out of the morass. The horse strained in its harness and the sucking pool was reluctant to give up its secret, grasping at the corpse that emerged slowly in a dripping blackness with rope looped about a lone boot.

The dog barked and ran in circles about the men who stood by the ashen tree. The air thrumming with the electricity of unspoken glances, an awareness now that it must be a killing they were dealing with and not an accident and caps came off out of respect for Hamilton the fallen employer, every man but for Faller who kept his hat on his head and sat on his haunches away from the men with a pipe in his hand and a tin in the other. He pinched some tobacco and rolled it loose between finger and thumb then tamped it down and sucked the pipe patiently to life. And only when the cadaver lay stiffened on the ground did he go to it and put a hand to its face, wiping gently the sludge from its features, silt hanging about the eyelashes and teeth grimed and the mouth filled with black oozing mud and he rubbed a thumb over the dead man's lips.

A hush about the Hamilton house. There was the lighting of oil lamps and the sound of whispers that fell short on the breath with the approaching march of Faller as he strode through the hallway towards the east wing of the house. A gallery of deer heads watched impassively as the foreman entered the sitting room, shadows of antlers grasping dully at the ceiling.

Hamilton stood in front of the fire and he turned around and looked at Faller. He was white and naked but for his leather slippers and a gown that swung untied and in his arms he petted a stuffed fox. Faller reached to light an oil lamp and watched the man whispering into the animal's ear.

It was one of the Coyles, Faller said.

Hamilton stopped his whispering and looked up at the foreman.

What was that? he said. The old man's voice a stumbling whisper.

Your son sir.

Oh that. I see. Did you talk to Desmond about it?

It is Desmond that is dead.

The old man looked at him with rheumy fish eyes unblinking.

I see. Pity that.

He lifted the fox up to his face.

I don't think we'll miss him will we Foxy? We didn't like Desmond anymore did we?

Faller went to the sideboard and took a tumbler and poured himself a glass of scotch. A leather chair creaked as Hamilton sat down, gray belly flesh spilling loose over his groin, and Faller watched him patting the animal's head.

I have not involved the constabulary, Faller said. I don't intend to. And you have my word I'll bring that miscreant to you.

Hamilton put his ear down to the fox and Faller turned to leave but the old man raised his head again and Faller could see in the dull light the eyes of the man become animate.

Foxy says he wants his cup of hot milk.

She reached out to him, put the child in his lap—?baby skin warm and the bundled child with big saucer eyes and her looking up at him and enfolding his finger with a hand—the smallest most wondrous living thing he ever saw—and he sang softly in the child's ear a melody strange from his lips that he'd not sung before but it came to him easy as if he'd known it all his life and he stood in front of the fire with the child in his arm and he saw too the horse and rubbed its muzzle with the flat of his hand and she came over and rubbed it as well and she said words he couldn't make out and then there was blood from its ears, the softly plink of rain on the floor, and he told her to mind the blood but it began to course now, falling to the clay, and her face was wild, her eyes shrieking silent and he shouted to her and he put his hands to one of the horse's ears but the flow he could not stop, and she began shouting to him, and he could hear her now, where is the wean Coll, where did you leave the wean, and he did not know where he left the child and he stood there unknowing, dread rooting him to the spot and he felt the power of his legs leave him and the horse looking at him sorrowfully and he was stiff from the cold.

Excerpted from Red Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch. Copyright © 2013 by Paul Lynch. Excerpted by permission of Little Brown & Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Mystery of Duffy's Cut

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Goodbye Days
    Goodbye Days
    by Jeff Zentner
    Guilt can be a heavy burden for anyone to manage, but it's especially difficult for teenagers. ...
  • Book Jacket: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
    The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
    by Hannah Tinti
    Hannah Tinti follows her spectacular 2008 debut, The Good Thief, with a novel of uncommon ...
  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading, you wish the author that wrote it was a ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

Modal popup -