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Pride of Lions (Celtic World of Morgan Llywelyn) Mass Market Paperback – March 15, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
The perils of royal succession and a choice between love and glory form the dominant themes of Llywelyn's lively sequel to Lion of Ireland (1979). That novel described the rise of High King Brian Boru, who became known as the "Charlemagne of Ireland" after he managed to briefly unite the tribes of the Emerald Isle at the end of the 10th century. Here it's Brian's 15-year-old son, Donough, who aspires to the throne, made ambitious by a brief initial success in battle against the Vikings at Contarf, where Brian has met his death. But Donough's brother Teigue also claims the crown, and when Teigue drives Donough from the family fortress, their father's carefully crafted alliances begin to crumble. Journeying north to the Scottish kingdom of Alba, Donough seeks his own political ties, through an arranged marriage that binds him to the King of England; also traveling with him is his treacherous, manipulative mother, who hopes to use him to regain the power she lost upon Brian's death. When Donough returns, he must reconcile his inability to reunite Ireland and the failure of his marriage with lush memories of a passionate affair with a Druid girl. Llywelyn tells a strong story distinguished by its psychological depth and by his knowledge of ancient Irish history.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
A canard current among historical novelists holds that it's impossible for a book set in Ireland to succeed because that country's past is so oppressively gloomy. Among the few exceptions is Llywelyn's Lion of Ireland (1980), the story of the heroic High King Brian Boru. But Brian was a victor, forming something like a nation in an island of squabbling tribes. None of his sons had the charisma or strength of their father or even of their mother, the scheming Gormlaith, which proves, perhaps, that sequels are hard even for high kings. The most compelling part of this diffuse novel is the tension between the ambition of its hero, Brian's son Donough, to assume his father's position, and his desire for a pagan woman, Cera, whom newly Christian Ireland considers an unacceptable mate for a king. Expect demand from Llywelyn fans. Patricia Monaghan --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Morgan Llywelyn has satisfied all my craving for knowledge in the few books she devoted on the subject matter, her legacy if you will.
Culture and pride have been depicted in a glorious way (sometimes gory way), I took them in stride because humans are humans after all, with all their dark and light sides.
I will recommend Morgan Llywelyn's books to all those who want History at its best portrayed...
Under "Culture" I mean all the daily life events, spiritual beliefs in Creation, architecture, hygiene, medecine and health, politics, food and drinks, social positioning of women and men, traditions, tales and magic, hunting, warring, loving, living and dying. And after life...
Donough has struggles to learn politics as he tries to emulate his father in every way. He fights many fronts socially in his family as he is torn between supporting his one remaining half brother Teague, who is older and claims the Kingship of Munster. He is also driven by his Mother who is ever working her political schemes for gain and revenge. He finds love in a Druid woman yet struggles to make a marriage and political alliances through his sisters' husbands who includes the King of Dublin and King of Scots. His wife is tied with the Saxon and Dane families in England, and helps Brian lay a foundation for his ultimate goal of claiming his father's title of High King of Ireland.
He is frustrated and young and seems to struggle on every front. At times while reading this book I felt the same feelings. It is definitely a different story than Pride of Lions. I didn't like the path the book was taking and yet was saved in the final chapters. The ending wonderful and I truly loved Donough's final choices. He proves that one can be successful by not repeating history. Donough showed he can live up to his father's fame and learn from his mistakes. I love the path Morgan Llywelyn took and the message sent. Pride of Lions is a lesson in life, achievement and self-worth as well as a great book and wild ride.