The City of the Golden Sun, Marilyn Peake's follow-up to The Fisherman's Son, follows the continuing adventures of Wiley O'Mara on the coast and in the ocean off of nineteenth-century Ireland. The focus in this novel widens, moving out from the grieving twelve-year-old to include the six boys he, with help from some amazing aquatic mammals, rescued from their near-grave under the water.
Wiley's purpose, now that king's son Keegan and his friends are
once more on dry land, is to help the boys adjust to their much-altered circumstances. They've been magically sleeping for over two thousand years, and life in Wiley's village and its surroundings is in some ways much the same as their ancient home, but different in more. Wiley does his best to feed and shelter his new friends, but making them believe what has happened to them is a task he is not alone able to handle.
So it is again that the mysterious forest-dwelling woman Lucinda and the dolphin Elden guide Wiley to the black waters of the ocean deep, and the novel finds its footing as Wiley, Keegan, and the rest are transported to the last days of the City of the Golden Sun. A gloriously peaceful and advanced place, the City prepares to celebrate the Festival of the Sun with chariot races, plays and parades. But a delicate truce with a far more pedestrian neighboring village is threatened when a few greedy soldiers from the City enter a gold mine the
City and the village share. The safety of both the village and the City is also put in peril by a warship from a nearby empire-building island. Neither of these two
happenings, though, can match the destructive power of the natural event that will be the ultimate downfall of this great ancient civilization.
Building on the message of The Fisherman's Son to "drink deeply," The City of the Golden Sun reminds readers young and old to live life to its fullest, to recognize the glory of our time on Earth, to bring beauty forth wherever we find ourselves planted. This book has the feel of a middle book, and is indeed the bridge between The Fisherman's Son
and the final book in the Wiley O'Mara trilogy. How Wiley and the boys from the City will deal with what they learn under the waves is something
Marilyn Peake's readers - for now - will only be able to anticipate.