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Finn the half-Great [Deckle Edge] [Hardcover]

Theo Caldwell
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 24.99
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Book Description

Oct. 13 2009
The story of a time when giants roamed the earth.

Finn the half-Great, Theo Caldwell’s first novel for young adults, tells the story of Ireland’s most beloved heroes with humor and heart. Finn McCool, at fourteen feet, thinks he is the tallest thing in the Emerald Isle. That is, until he ventures outside his childhood valley. Finn soon discovers that ancient Britain is a land of giants, dragons, wizards, and men, in which he is only one little fellow.

Despite treating those about him as decently as he can, Finn finds he has enemies all over. Even before he was born, cruel creatures known as the Frost Giants killed Finn’s father and tried to do away with his mother. When Finn learns what befell his parents, his first order of business is to seek out the Frost Giants and take revenge.

In later years, Finn becomes a calmer chap, living in idle bliss on his hill, known as Knockmany, with his beloved wife, Oonagh. But Finn the half-Great’s troubles are not over. Ireland and all of Britain are being overrun by mortal men, who have no patience for bigger fellows like Finn. When Knockmany is attacked by humans, and Oonagh is kidnapped by their leader, Finn sets out to rally Britain’s remaining giants and bring her back.

Steeped in legend, Finn the half-Great is completely thrilling as it introduces an unforgettable character and adventures both ancient and new.

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Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

Theo Caldwell is an internationally known investor, writer, and commentator. Born in Toronto, Theo is a citizen of Ireland, Canada, and the United States. Finn the half-Great is Theo’s first novel and it is dedicated to his beloved dog, Harvey. Learn more about Finn at

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The art of story-telling has been revived! Oct. 19 2009
Finn the half-Great is a wonderfully intelligent and captivating read. The reader is immersed into a magical world of childhood dreams. I think this book is excellent for young adults, but it is a lovely book for reading to your children of any age. It reminds me of being read C.S. Lewis and Tolkien as a child. Thank you Theo Caldwell for developing such delightful characters, hope to see them again in another book.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulist fabulosity for non-fantasy readers ! June 10 2009
The last 20+ years of fantasy fiction have left me cold. The novels seem to me generally to be too derivative and predictable, too unworldly; their internal logic is either lacking or not compelling; they take themselves dreadfully seriously; and their writing is sophomoric.

Theo Caldwell's "Finn the Half-Great," on the other hand, defies these steretypical failings. From the beginning, the author's joie de vivre, insight into human nature and compassion are coupled with a wry sense of humour, and a thorough, sure knowledge of the fantasy land he is creating. It is nearly familiar, achingly so at times; but original and fresh in his bringing it to life.

The characters speak to us through the centuries and the veil of fantasy -because human nature does not change even if times and beliefs do. Exemplar of this is Finn's long-suffering wife: she is at once loyal and tart, critical and loving - the partner of many successful marriages readers will have known in their own lives and seen in the lives of others. Not to spoil the plot, but even his beasties have a sense of humour and a touch of honour.

Not cloying, but deeply felt; not "real" but deeply possible; not "true" but deeply of our world, Finn's quest is fun to read, but, more, it resonates of the power of potential, of love and of triumph over adversity. If those aren't messages for all ages and all times - especially our own just now - I don't know what is. But the theme is not struck at us, hammer-like; rather it is forged with a light touch, and reveals itself through equally sprightly writing.

Caldwell seems a real star of a galaxy whose light is just penetrating Earth's vision. I can't wait for the next volume of Finn's adventures !
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever! June 10 2009
This might be the best book I have ever read. It has EVERYTHING - heroes, villains, love, hate, battles, dragons, wizards and, most of all, Giants! And it's VERY funny! Once I got started, I could not stop reading it. The mythology and characters are fascinating, and there are even hidden codes in the words of the book. It's a great story, beautifully written, with fun and inspiration for people of all ages.
I surely hope Theo Caldwell won't have us waiting long to read his next half-Great adventure!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finn the half-Great June 12 2009
By Brendan
Finn the Half-Great

It is about time an author did for Irish mythology what Tolkein did for the bloody English. The characters in Finn are interesting, well-developed and very funny. Rather than taking us to an imaginary world, Caldwell's story is set in our own, back in a time when our myths were real. In this, Finn awakens our collective memeory and unveils the origins of our hopes and fears -- and more than a few of our turns-of-phrase. Required reading for all Irishmen and brilliant story for all those who wish they were.
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6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book for my son who loves giants, wizards and world mythologies. Though it could prove useful for a university-level Celtic mythology class, it leaves adult and child fantasy fans cold.

The publisher recommends the book for children aged 9 to 12 (grades 3 to 6). But the author keeps pelting the reader with unnecessary and pompous vocabulary. Ten year olds do not understand the meaning of bilious, shoal, piety, belie, victuals, uncouth, pang, confound, don, mundane, clout, cantankerous, malodorous, impertinent, hexagonal, nonplussed, simperer, bough and porcine. Embarrassingly, the author sometimes misapplies such words, betraying his ignorance of the word's semantic nuance or even its plain meaning.

On page 2, the author's hasty world-building drowns the reader in a tsunami of proper nouns with insufficient context: Gogmagog, Great Ones, Finn mac Cuhail, Cuhail mac Art, Muirne, Nuada, Albion, Fomorians, Frost Giants, Treryn, Eire, Fianna, Ymir.

The book portrays an unsympathetic protagonist, so you really don't care if he wins or fails, lives or dies. Early on, a human taunts the protagonist Finn with "Did your mummy give you that [lavender] scarf?" Finn responds by lifting the human in the air by the neck (like he's Darth Vader) and threatens to disembowel him with a sword. Finn later cuts his enemy Ymir into two or more pieces, leaving behind a "pool of venomous black blood".

The book obsesses over how the fantasy races of this world differ. The racialist descriptions disturbed me, hinting at undertones of white supremacism. The women act as one-dimensional stereotypes: frustrated and bossy, housewives and spinsters.
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