Deborah Birch is a seasoned hospice nurse who never gives up -- not with her patients, not in her life. But her skills and experience are fully tested by the condition her husband, Michael, is in when he returns from his third deployment in Iraq. Tormented by nightmares and rage, Michael has become cold and withdrawn. Grateful nonetheless that he is home at last, Deborah is determined to heal him and restore their loving, passionate marriage.

But Michael is not her only challenge. Deborah's primary patient is Barclay Reed, a retired history professor and a fierce curmudgeon. An expert in the Pacific Theater of World War II, Barclay is suffering from terminal cancer and haunted by ghosts from his past, including the academic scandal that ended his career.

Barclay's last wish is for Deborah to read to him from his final and unfinished book -- a little-known story of courage from World War II that may hold the key to helping Michael conquer his demons. Together, nurse, patient and soldier embark on an unforgettable emotional journey that transforms them all, offering astonishing insights into life and death, suffering, and finding peace. 

The Hummingbird is a story of marital commitment, service to country, learning to let go, and finding absolution through wisdom and acceptance.

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“THE HUMMINGBIRD is a novel that shares its unexpected gifts and teaches us that surrender is a part of love, and that giving away our weapons is the first step to peace.”—Mary Morris, author of The Jazz Palace

“Stephen Kiernan writes with surefooted mastery and patience. … What thrilled me about THE HUMMINGBIRD is that I learned again that sometimes an unbridgeable chasm can be crossed by a leap of the imagination.” —Peter Heller, author of The Painter and The Dog Stars

“Kiernan’s second novel is a remarkably touching, insightful and timely revelation. … Illuminating, uplifting, and ultimately redemptive.”—Romantic Times

“Kiernan expertly mixes a look at the Japanese role in WWII and a modern-day tale of troubled Iraq War veteran sniper Michael, his hospice-care-nurse wife Deborah, and her ornery, secret-harboring patient Barclay. This many-faceted, thought-provoking story prompts soul-searching about life, war, and death.”Booklist

“Ambitious … compelling … thought-provoking.”Library Journal