The Luck Penny

It is August 1849. It is a morning on which a war might have started...
In a small rectory in Ireland, with his wife, Eliza, and younger daughter, Theodora, away in London, Dr John Drew has finally found the peace and quiet to work on the cuneiform inscription of Darius the Great from the palace at Persepolis, in Persia. But now… 

Westmacott, his fellow translator, has abandoned him…Bridget, the maid, has run out on him because of some cow skulls…

Judith, his older daughter, has secretly eloped with a local Catholic farmer…

And Fox Keegan, a murder suspect, comes calling…




An expertly crafted, tender tale of grief, language and land... A richly rewarding read-Metro



 Beautifully written... Maher writes with wonderful sympathy and insight...The Luck Penny is the work of a dedicated and gifted writer who has plenty to say. --Sunday Business Post


An accomplished confection of death, trauma, psychosis, paranoia, illicit love, colonial power and native subversion. --Irish Book Review

[A] superbly executed story about bereavement told through characters that intrigue from the first. --Sunday Tribune




‘John Maher’s novel marks the novelistic debut of a truly gifted and committed writer…there are echoes of Joyce…’ Pat McCabe, Booker shortlisted author of The Butcher Boy