Book tells family history in myths, legends of Ireland

Begorrah! Here’s an Irish children’s book for the bairns to delve into the old tales of the Emerald Isle. Kevin Murphy Takes on the Father of Lies was published in September 2005, and more books are to follow.

Kevin Murphy, an adventurous teen-age Irish-American lad, set out to explore his family history, but found his life turned topsy-turvy upon his ill-fated encounter with the terrifying leader of the Shadow World, the Father of Lies. Thus begins the coming-of-age journey for Kevin Murphy, the fictional lead character in a new fantasy series written by M.J. Smith, himself an Irish-American who was raised on Irish folklore and legend.

Smith, a Rockford native, attended St. Mary’s Grade School, Rockford East High School and Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis. He previously managed WestGroup Management Resources, a company that specialized in building and marketing the ACquire Report Management and Data Warehouse software used by many companies worldwide.

As a young boy, Smith was brought up on the fanciful Irish tales told by his mother and grandmother, and the intrigue of those stories stayed with him through his life. While attending an Irish wake when he was 8 years old, he was fascinated by the cadence of the outlandish tales told by his relatives, and he decided that storytelling was his calling. This book is the first of a six-book series that will follow Kevin Murphy through 18.5 months of his young life as he travels from Estes Park, Colo., to Ireland, Scotland, England and Australia. The stories are fantasy incorporating real legends, geography and characters in each of the countries Kevin visits.

Sure, there are dragons, witches, ghosts, fairies and leprechauns, but the books also offer some great historic background and insight into the folklore of each country. The places are real, and the publisher’s Web site,, features photos of many of the places Kevin visits, along with additional insight into the myths and legends surrounding each area. Castles, inns, caves, lakes and mountains are all pictured, so the reader can get a feel of the real-life world where the fantasy adventures take place.

Kevin Murphy Takes on the Father of Lies (ISBN: 09765066-2), 320 pages, is priced at $10.95. It is available through Baker & Taylor Books, < ahref=> and local bookstores.

From the March 15-21, 2006, issue

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