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Bright Sword of Ireland Hardcover – March 1, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gentle, peace-loving Finnabair, daughter of the ambitious warrior queen Medb of Connacht, makes a beguiling narrator in Osborne-McKnight's third engaging historical to recast Celtic myth (after 2002's Daughter of Ireland). For years, Medb has used Finnabair as a pawn in her perpetual war games. Determined to win the prized brown bull of Ulster, the ruthless queen promises her daughter's hand to any man who kills boy warrior Cuchulainn, Ulster's legendary hero. Among the many who die in the attempt is Froech, Finnabair's beloved, one of the Others, or fairy folk. The irresistibly charming Cuchulainn himself is half Other and he is sorry to kill Froech, as he confesses to Finnabair several years later. They meet when Finnabair tries to kill herself, overwhelmed by the deaths of so many in her name and by her forced marriage to Ulster warrior Rochad. But her marriage and her meeting with Cuchulainn mark a turning point in her life. Learning to love Rochad and to forgive her mother, she brings peace to both sides, though Medb's insatiable quest for power soon causes war to break out again. In its emphasis on traditional "feminine" values, the novel diverges most obviously from the author's primary source, the epic Tain, "Ireland's Iliad and Odyssey." Warm, playful and eloquent, this is a welcome addition to the genre.
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From Booklist

Osborne-McKnight continues to retell mystical Irish folktales in spellbinding fashion. As in Daughter of Ireland (2002) and I Am of Irelaunde (2000), she interweaves documented history with Celtic myths and legends, creating an enchanting tapestry of honor, courage, and love. Forever in the shadow of her beautiful, dangerous mother, Medb, the warrior queen of Connacht, mousy Finnabair strikes back when she realizes that she has become nothing more than a pawn in her mother's costly and seemingly foolish quest to acquire the Brown Bull of Ulster. Sold in marriage to an enemy warrior, she forges an unusually strong platonic relationship with the Cuchulainn, the fabled Hound of Ulster. As Finnabair struggles to reclaim her own destiny, the fates of two powerful kingdoms hang in the balance. Never allowing her magical saga to become inexcusably quaint, the author displays, at all times, an abiding respect and love for the richly textured mythology of ancient Ireland. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765306980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765306982
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,998,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Failté! Welcome to my author page. You are also welcome to visit my website at http://www.juileneosbornemcknight.com

Join me in a time when warriors thunder through the forests and druids cut mistletoe from the giant oaks. I am of Irelaunde, Daughter of Ireland, Bright Sword of Ireland and Song of Ireland are all available for Kindle or from resellers. Song of Ireland will be released in paperback in January.

If you prefer more modern suspense,read the early (freebie) chapters of my forthcoming contemporary magical realist novel Borealis Island at juileneosbornemcknight.blogspot.com.

I am a professor of Creative Writing, Celtic and Native American mythology and I am a storyteller or seanchai in the ancient Irish tradition.

I hope you enjoy my stories and thank you for your interest.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on March 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This third book shows once again this author's skill in creating a special atmosphere with an enchanting mix of the otherworldly and the everyday in an ancient setting. I particularly like her light touch with the fledgeling Christian faith as it appears alongside the myths and magic of the Irish people. In contrast to some reviewers here, and especially to the person who appears to be abusing Amazon's site by posting multiple negative reviews and thus adversely affecting the rating, I liked Finnabhair very much. She grows in strength and confidence through the book; her relationship with her husband becomes one of equals in which he needs her as much as she needs him; and she is by the end a powerful and influential character. Besides, it takes the most strength of all to put aside one's pride, and forgive.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In every chapter a new story wove several characters together which kept me reading to find out how all the characters' lives would eventually connect. Be prepared for the surprising and wonderful ending to this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm starting to notice a pattern of the "Reader Of USA" seems to be pretty set in bringing this book rating down. Personally I loved the book and was able to understand that at one point in time the female was obligated to seek a husband. I know that femanism is largely accepted by the American culture and the book isn't encouraging the readers to reverse the progress of any of the femanist movements. I feel that this could be a personal problem driving the motivation to continue to post these reviews in which case it needs to be taken elsewhere becuase that isn't the purpose of the site.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Becker on June 12, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a wonderfully written book (as are all of the books I have read by this author). In addition to putting her own spin on old irish tales, she puts so much emotion into her characters that they come alive. Each one grows and evolves in such a natural way that you are sucked into their lives and feel joy inside when they are joyful and sometimes even weep when they weep. I have to say, this is one of my new all time favorite books that I could read over and over again, which I cannot say for most.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Charbonneau on February 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I found Bright Sword of Ireland a source of never ending delight. I love Finnabair?s bird sight, her growth, her seeking of wisdom and grace as she travels her difficult path.
Juilene Osborne McKnight again brings a time and culture to vibrant life. Storytelling at its best. Get caught up into its waves of enchantment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book as much, if not more than McKnight's first two. Maybe it was because I had waited so long for it. Although I'm not a student of Celtic myth, I love the stories McKnight weaves so well.
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