Needing a little bit of history, I chose Lion of Ireland. What a great choice for multiple reasons! First, the story takes place in the late tenth century. It’s also historically factual with a deep understanding of the characters and life at that time.
Brian Boru, considered the greatest king Ireland has ever known, fought in his mind and in reality between the urge to be a great warrior and great lover.
Throughout the book, he proves himself a great warrior in what we would now consider primitive manners. The clans of Ireland fought hand-to-hand with axes, swords, and slingshots. Allies were claimed and destroyed along the way.
Brian’s encounter with Fiona, his first love, came from legend. She was a druidess and helped him find his sensuality. She randomly appears throughout his life with helpful follies. He’s enamored with his first wife, Deidre. He treated her with love and respect, yet many times left for his other passion, war and success.
Brian’s third wife, Gormlaith, wanted to be part of his ruling kingdom. He loved her and hated her.
I, as the reader, waited for an appearance by Fiona and wondered what kind of effect she could bring from him. I’ll keep that as a secret held by the novel.
Llywelyn mastered her telling of Irish history with a story full of facts and poetic license. To make history joyful, interesting, and intriguing to read makes her one of the best historians to write and keep the reader intrigued right to the end of the story.
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