Sixth-century Ireland . . .
Five-year-old Fian finds solace from a difficult home life by drawing shapes and patterns in the sand. The artistry he reveals in interpreting the beauties of nature takes him to Iona, where he will be the ‘fourth hand’ on the Book of Kells, that great treasure of the Celts.
Greeted on arrival by the imposing Colum (Columba), Fian is gradually drawn into a community of laughter and stories, prayer and scholarship. But his formative experiences have left him vulnerable. In encountering blue-eyed Mara, a girl who bears a terrible secret, he recognizes another soul who lives with both desolation and joy. And as their friendship begins to deepen, Colum’s rough-and-ready kindness leads the master to make an error of judgement that will have devastating consequences . . .
This lyrical, timeless story, which unfolds amidst the elemental beauty of one of the holiest places on earth, is an exploration of doubt, faith – and the brokenness of spirit that finally releases us into love.