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Druids Mass Market Paperback – November 23, 1992

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

As every Latin student knows, ancient Gaul was divided into three parts, all conquered by Caesar. Llywelyn tells of that conquest from the viewpoint of the defeated Gauls. Her story is told by the Druid Ainvar, whose"soul friend" Vercingetorix leads the Gauls in their doomed defense of freedom. Llywelyn is most successful in her evocation of Celtic culture and Druidic beliefs, based on harmony with nature. Once Caesar and Vercingetorix join battle, however, the story bogs down in endless marches, raids, and battles. The characters serve the needs of the plot admirably but are never fully fleshed out and compelling in their own right. Less successful than Llywelyn's earlier novels (e.g. Grania: She-King of the Irish Seas , LJ 3/1/86), this one is still likely to please those who enjoy meticulously crafted historical fiction.
- Beth Ann Mills, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Splendid and compelling.”

“Llywelyn imaginatively and vividly portrays the druid rituals and their close ties to nature, and authentically depicts daily life among the Celts as well.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A masterpiece . . . From page one, the fires of your imagination will burn with a white heat. . . . Beware the druids! Unless you have twenty-four hours of non-stop reading time, don’t touch it. . . . Thumbs up. Five stars. Bravo.”
—Tulsa World

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (November 23, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804108447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804108447
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #580,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Beverly Orel on January 28, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
At the end of this book, Llewelyn includes a brief bibliography-- complete with ancient sources as well as contemporary accounts-- and the attention to detail shows in the book.

It's really a treat to read a book about Druids that lacks the new-agey stonehenge-reverent "true religion" tone-- these Druids are the healers/holy people of the Celts, but they are also just people, they marry, have children, etc. They do work magic but it's more to do with perception than transformation.

The story follows young Ainvar from his intrusion into a sacrifice (which is also not what it seems-- the human sacrifices come willingly, and drink a tonic the night before, so that the knife is just a ritual) to bring spring on-- his adoption by the aging chief Druid, his "man-making" in which he meets his soul-friend, Rix-- Vercengetorix-- and ultimately his involvement in the dream of forming a great alliance among the Celtic tribes to resist the incursion of Caesar.

If you've ever read or even just had any knowledge of "All Gaul was divided in three parts" you probably know this isn't going to be a huge success for the Gauls. Still, you can't help hoping...

Ainvar is resourceful and likable. At times the elegaic tone for the Celts ("we were a people who sang") is a bit twee, and it's true the Romans are presented as out and out villains which oversimplifies the story. There are also a few loose ends-- a kidnapped daughter's fate and the betrayal by a friend.

But on the whole this is an engrossing story with a sense of historical accuracy, and a must read for anyone interested in Celts and ancient Rome. Llewelyn's prose is a treat and she writes engaging characters throughout.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Robert Ketchum on March 11, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read a number of Morgan's novels, all of which are excellent reads in their own right, however "Druids" is by far the most compelling. It is a wonderful attempt to show history through the eyes of the vanquished, and not the usual creators of history - the victors. As in all her books, the writing is fluid and enthralling. The person to person stories written around the historical events are so well done the reader feels anticipation and hope even though we all know how tragically it all ends. A definate must read for anyone who has an interest in the Celts, history, or simply a well written story.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While I do not consider this to be one of the greatest books I've ever read, it certainly is a good one. It has it's flaws, yes. Every book does.
I was a little surprised that Llywelyn actually included human sacrifice in her portrayal of the druids, considering that the only source of "witness" to such practices were the Romans themselves, who, being the enemy of the Gallic Celts, were known to create various lies to plant fear of the druids in the minds of their followers. Note that I am not deducting any stars due to this, though, because there is very little we know about the Celts and their lives and one cannot be absolutely certain.
However, I feel the need to defend this book against some of the reviews, because, frankly, many of them were down-right stupid.
Take, for instance, the reviewer who deducted a star merely because it had a "sad ending". How many books have sad endings? Some of the greatest books of all time do! It has nothing to do with the quality of the book, so don't deduct from the average star review for such a stupid thing as that! He follows up with an "Oh, well, that's history" attitude. So why deduct the star at all?
Oh, and the person who complains about the central character being "egotistical"...So what if he ever showed any signs of egotism? That's his character! Once again, that's a part of the story. And then you spoke of the Romans being "exaggerated". That's because it was from the Gallic Celts' point of view. Of course they're going to portray the Romans that way! It's their point of view! Oh, and if you're going to bash a book, at least use something resembling good English grammar so you don't look like a complete fool.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Konrei on August 9, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ms. Llywelyn's DRUIDS is a tour de force of historical fiction, wrongly classified under "science fiction" or "Sword and Sorcery." If there is any magic portrayed in Ms. Llywelyn's books, it is subtle and not accompanied by pyrotechnics.

DRUIDS relies on a very strong storyline to provide its magic. It is the story of Ainvar ("He Who Travels Far"), a young apprentice Druid in pre-Roman Gaul (France) who is sent, true to his name, to the far corners of his country to report on the growing menace of Julius Caesar and his legions.

Ms. Llywelyn is a Celtic scholar, and paints a masterful portrait of life among the European Celts, the aboriginal people of Europe, whose contributions to world history are, sadly enough, little known. While much of Ms. Llywelyn's storycraft is necessarily invention, it does have the powerful ring of truth, and her gifted weaving of historical personages such as Caesar and Vercingetorix, the king of the Gauls, into this true to life and very detailed story of an advanced and settled culture on the verge of cataclysmic change, only underscores what was lost when "civilization" reached the "barbarians" of Europe.

DRUIDS is a pleasure to read. It reads more like an actual memoir than fiction, and is written with humor, sensitivity, and pathos. DRUIDS sheds light on a little-known portion of history, and for those of us dissatisfied with the "official" brand of history sold to us in most books, DRUIDS is a refreshing and very successful tale of the meeting of cultures, and the rise and fall of civilizations, told from the perspective of one observant but imperfect human being.
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