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Exit Unicorns

Written by: Cindy Brandner
Narrated by: Gary Furlong
Series: Exit Unicorns, Book 1
Length: 22 hrs and 18 mins
5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this sweeping and powerful epic the journey begins in the "terrible beauty" of Northern Ireland during a time when conflict reigns and no one is spared from tragedy and sorrow, the time known as The Troubles.

It is the spring of 1968 in Belfast and James Kirkpatrick has just lost his father under suspicious circumstances, Casey Riordan is released from prison after five years and Pamela O'Flaherty has crossed an ocean and a lifetime of memories to find the man she fell in love with as a little girl. All three lives are on a collision course with each other against the backdrop of the burgeoning civil rights movement and a nation on the brink of revolution.

They come from disparate backgrounds - Jamie a wealthy aristocrat whose life is like an imperfect but multi-faceted jewel-brilliant, flawed and with a glitter that is designed to distract the observer. Casey, a card-carrying member of the Irish Republican Army, who must face the fact that five years away has left him a stranger, a misfit in his own neighborhood where not everyone is sympathetic to a convicted rebel. Pamela, who has come to Ireland in search of a memory and a man who may not have existed in the first place.

Through it all runs the ribbon of a love story: love of country, the beginning love of two people unable to resist the pull of each other regardless of the cost to themselves and those around them, and the selfless love of one man who no longer believes himself capable of such emotion.

It is an electrifying tale of a people divided by religion and politics, a tale of love and danger, of triumph and tragedy. Ultimately it is the story of that "terrible beauty" herself - Ireland - and how nation is bound to one's identity, woven into the weft of all we become.

©2001, 2012 Cindy Brandner (P)2017 Cindy Brandner

What listeners say about Exit Unicorns

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome book and audio!

This is the first book in Cindy's series and it is wonderful! The writing is brought to life by Gary in such a passionate, intriguing manner that you'll fall in love with the characters and with Ireland. Cindy's words can bring me to tears and make me laugh out loud and Gary's voice leaves an emotional, indelible mark on my heart. I strongly recommend Cindy's books and the best palce to start is with Exit Unicorns.

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Where to begin...

The story begins in the spring of 1968 in Belfast, Ireland, right at the start of a 3-decade long conflict in Northern Ireland between the Catholics and the Protestants. The starring characters of this phenomenal series are James Kirkpatrick, Pamela O’Flaherty, Casey Riordan, Patrick Riordan, and a host of very memorable characters that you will not soon forget.

The Troubles started before I was born, so I was never aware of Ireland’s bloody past. Though The Troubles is but a small glimpse into a multi century-old conflict between the British and the Irish. This series has taught me so much history; it has taught me about passion; it has taught me about strength, and most of all it has taught me about true and passionate love for one’s country. You will laugh, you will cry, you will get angry and you will feel joy, happiness and so much sorrow… this book has all the feels.

Cindy writes like no other author I have read. She is a master storyteller. She writes in a way that transports you into the story through beautifully written prose. I could feel and see everything she described as if I was there.

I originally read Exit Unicorns in 2014 and again when the audiobook came out in 2017.

I didn’t think I could love a story any more than I already did, but it is so very possible. The story, the characters, and history come together vividly and give the reader a deeper, more personal experience. The narrator, Gary Furlong, did an excellent job of bringing each character to life, though Pamela was not all that I hoped for, she has since grown on me. Gary absolutely makes up for it through all the other characters, though. Some characters were so spot-on in my mind it was scary, and just left me mind-blown. You know a narrator has done his job well when you are laughing out loud, and your kid looks at you oddly!

If you have a passion for all things Irish, then this is a series you can not afford to miss out on! It is bloody brilliant!


This is a book trailer that I made for Cindy with her permission.
Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/a4Nq-q-hxRI

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  • Christine Nemechek
  • 2017-11-07

At long last!

Love the series and was anxiously awaiting the audible version so that I could have this intriguing and beautifully descriptive novel read to me by someone with a lovely Irish accent! Home run - the narrator is just perfect and I’m thrilled so far. May update after I’ve listened to the entire thing, but I’m sure it will only be to heap further praise upon both the author and her excellent choice of narrator!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Wendy Hughes
  • 2018-10-28

Loved it

This is the first book that has had me gripped since reading the Outlander series.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-01-19

Brilliant choice of a narrator

What made the experience of listening to Exit Unicorns the most enjoyable?

Gary Furlong, as the narrator made the listening experience incredible. I loved his voice and he was absolutely brilliant in his reading of the book. He literally made the characters jump out at you with the voices he put to them. The narrator can either make or ruin the books you listen to. I've had several good story's ruined, just by the narrator that was chosen for that particular book. Not so in this case!

What did you like best about this story?

I love that this story was based on true historical events in Ireland, in the not so distant past. Though the characters are supposed to be fictional, they could have actually been real. I enjoy the way Cindy Brandner writes her stories, you feel everything from heartache to passion and everything in between. For me, reading / listening to the book, took me directly to Ireland and placed me in the midst of the story.

Which character – as performed by Gary Furlong – was your favorite?

My favorite character performed by Gary, had to be hands down....Casey! Though I love Jamie, Pamela & Pat, just as equally. The voice he gave Casey, was exactly how I would have expected it to be from when I first read the book several years ago.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

To pick only one or two moments in the book that moved or captivated me is almost impossible. From start to finish, it gripped my heart strings and never let go.

Any additional comments?

Being a huge Outlander fan, I had a hard time finding books that really touched me deep within after reading the series. I accidentally stumbled across The Exit Unicorn Series, and was hooked from the very first book. Cindy is an exceptional and heartfelt writer, she is in the same league as Diana Gabaldon, as far as I'm concerned.
Using Gary Furlong, as the narrator was simply genius! I loved reading the book series, but listening to him read, was such a marvelous experience, it made me love the book that much more. I cannot wait for Mermaid in a Bowl of Tears to come out.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jeanette R Thomson
  • 2020-07-15

Not a light romance

The story was a lot darker and heavier than I expected but was well-written. There are several lengthy “history lessons” that stall the story a little, but i probably needed some of that context to understand the time and culture the story is placed in. This is not the Ireland of travel brochures.
The narrator did an excellent job with all the varied accents of the dialogue, and in conveying the female characters, which is always difficult for narrators of the opposite gender. Where he stumbled a little was in the long poetic descriptive passages, of which there are many, as well as the many quotations of actual poetry by famous authors. He tended to stay in his more hard-boiled clipped phrasing of 3-4 word groups, good for action narration but breaking up the poetic lines enough that it was often hard to follow them. However, those may be better to read than follow aurally, regardless of the narrator.
I took off a point on the story because the ending seemed abrupt and a little weak. There were many foreshadowings and secrets that seem to get dropped completely or tied up too quickly to do justice to the depth of emotion invested in the complex plot lines of most of the book.
Still, I did enjoy listening to this book.

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  • Pacific NW Girl
  • 2020-04-19

Amazing story

I loved this story, I binged listened for two days straight! Such a good listen. I think the narrator did a fabulous job with all the male parts but was distracted with disappointment when he read for the main female character’s part. Still worth the listen! Loved it ❤️

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  • Tami
  • 2020-01-29

So So Good

I don’t normally listen to audio books unless I am on a long road trip because my mind tends to wander and I am able to absorb and learn better through the reading. That being said, Ms Brandner was giving away some promo codes for this audio book and I was fortunate enough to receive one. I had read and enjoyed the book twice already but let me say, the audio book gave it a whole new dimension. Mr. Furlong’s performance was spot on for bringing the characters to life and immersing my mind into the story. I love this book (and the rest of the series). I love the characters. The storytelling, the imagery, the historical facts, the depth of character development—all of it makes for a fantastic book. I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series, which is coming soon. If you love The Historical Fiction genre, this series is a winner!

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  • Sheila
  • 2019-12-02

Narration needs ... something

I have read this book before, and I love it. Cindy Brandner really brings these characters to life, and I have enjoyed reading them.

This narrator, however, leaves much to be desired. His narration is flat, almost lifeless. He reads with a strange cadence that has very little to do with punctuation, and I find myself having to go back and read portions of what he has just said so that I can make sense of it. He seems to put emphasis on the wrong words, which changes the whole meaning of the sentence. And because I often have to read along in order to make sense of the storyline, I discovered that he often changes words, or leaves words out, of even adds words which are not actually there. In one place, he changed the word from “barricade” to “brigade” and it changed the whole meaning of the sentence! Even my husband commented on his flat accent and lack of interesting inflection, when he was just passing through the room where I sat listening. He does manage to get an accent in every once in a while, but in my opinion, it is a pretty poor imitation. I’d love to hear a better attempt then this!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-04-21

Beautiful prose in a story of harsh realities and the relentlessness of the human spirit

I read this book and the ones following a few years ago, and as the author is working on the next installment, I wanted to reacquaint myself with the characters. Listening to the audiobook only enhanced the beauty of the writing. I had forgotten the intricacies of the story and the subtleties that enrich a reading experience. I found myself rationing the chapters so that it wouldn’t end. Exit Unicorns is really setting the stage for an epic saga that will twist and move through time and space like few storylines I have read. The paths of these characters is sometimes brutal, but achingly raw and real at the same time. I read these books before visiting Belfast for the first time, and the descriptions of the city’s entwinement with “The Troubles” were so accurate that I recognized landmarks and knew where key incidents had occurred. Cindy’s writing weaves a spell around her readers that invokes literature and poetry long forgotten from English class, the harshness of an age-old bloody battle for territory, and the perspective of historical reflection - all wrapped up in the complex relationships of a group of people caught in a vicious time in history. Survival in this tale is a personal pursuit, gone about in a multitude of ways in which only the reader ever truly understands. As with life, the characters go through their struggles the best way they know how, sometimes to their own detriment. If given the chance, these books will draw the reader so deep inside another time that the reemergence into the “now” is wistful. The writing is vivid in description without getting lost in the weeds. I can’t recommend this series enough for readers who relish storytelling that connects them with the characters, flawed and as different as any people could be, but real and so personable that the reader is able to see a bit of themselves in each of the main characters. It’s history. It’s poetry. It’s war at its worst. But it’s also about love in every facet imaginable, between lovers, parents and children, brothers, friends, countrymen, and even strangers. Give it a try. You’ll be happy you did!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2018-10-01

loved the story and the storyteller

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cindy Brandner's Exit Unicorn series
Now I am thrilled to listen to Gary Furlong read them to me.

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  • Tracyann
  • 2018-09-01

EXCELLENCE

As Entertained and spellbound as I was with the written book. BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO !!!