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The Princes of Ireland


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About the Author

Edward Rutherfurd was born in Salisbury, England, and educated at Cambridge University and Stanford University in California. His first bestselling novel, Sarum, is based on the history of Salisbury and Stonehenge. Russka, his second novel, recounted the sweeping history of Russia. London tells the two-thousand-year story of the great city, bringing all of the richness of London's past unforgettably to life. The Forest was set in England's ancient "New Forest." A former resident of London and New York City, Edward Rutherfurd has had a home in Dublin for more than ten years. He has two children.


Distinctly evocative of James Michener's all-encompassing recapitulations of history, this lackluster saga by the author of bestselling London and, most recently, The Forest (2000), is the first of a projected two-volume series billed as the Dublin Saga. Rutherfurd begins his tale of the Emerald Isle in pre-Christian Ireland in A.D. 430 with a tragic romance between a maiden, Dierdre, and a Celtic warrior, Conall, hearkening to the legend of the mythic first-century Celtic hero, Cuchulainn. After Conall is offered up as a sacrifice to the Druid gods, the narrative jumps ahead 20 years to Pat Rick's (St. Patrick's) arrival in Ireland in A.D. 450 and his establishment of a small Christian toehold at Dubh Linn. Five centuries later, the Vikings make their mark, and Rutherfurd skips ahead with chronicles of the monastery at Glendalough, the Book of Kells and the death of Brian Boru (founder of the O'Brians) with his Pyrrhic victory over the high king of Tara in 1014. A retelling of King Henry II's arrival in Ireland in 1171 is followed by a cursory account of the reformation of the Irish Church at the Council of Cashel and the story of an obscure 1370 skirmish at Carrickmines Castle (a minor landmark presently doomed to make room for a highway). Rutherfurd sets the last of his ill-connected and artificial sketches in 1537, with Henry VIII hanging Silken Thomas, and Dublin poised at the dawn of the Renaissance. Readers who persevere will glean plenty of historical detail from these pages, but Rutherfurd's uninspiring storytelling makes the journey a slog. (Mar. 2) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Beginning in the tribal, pre-Christian times of the warrior kings at Tara, this first book in a two-part novelized history of Ireland sweeps readers through the early centuries of Druids, chieftains, monks, Vikings, noblemen, merchants, and mercenaries, ending with the disastrous invasion of England that tragically changed the course of Irish history. Through the eyes of the men and women who built the mighty city that became Dublin, the unfolding of a colorful and turbulent history is told with energy and a meticulous attention to historical detail. As he did so vividly in his previous historical novels (e.g., Sarum), Rutherfurd captures the energy, beauty, and passion that are so much a part of the Irish experience. He is a marvelous storyteller, and readers will anticipate the second book. Like James Michener, Rutherfurd has found the key to crafting sweeping historical sagas with vitality and flair. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/03.]-Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Praise for Edward Rutherfurd:
"Not all good things come in small packages. If you like books that are big, Edward Rutherfurd is your man. He writes wonderful sagas, tales that cover centuries, always keeping these long stories lively by telling us about the events and conflicts of people's lives. Rutherfurd does the painstaking research; the reader has all the fun." -- The Seattle Times

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