The task of transforming the events of the 1916 Irish Rebellion into coherent fiction would terrify most writers. Llywelyn (The Lion of Ireland; Red Branch), however, has produced a thunderous, informative read that rises to the challenge.
Sticking to the historical facts and incorporating all the major historical figures, Llewelyn filters them through the experience of the fictional Ned Halloran, a young Titanic survivor whose lust for life takes on new meaning when he goes to the Irish-language school run by poet and schoolmaster Padraic Pearse.
Gaining a new appreciation of Irish culture, Ned also learns of Ireland's tragic, bloody history. He soon becomes aware that he is alive in a vibrant and epochal time, when the new century's potential inspires poets and revolutionaries to challenge the British Empire's colonial might. Ned falls in love and graduates from schoolboy to soldier.
On Easter Monday, 1916, he is ready for the Rising itself, and (as happened on those famously unisex barricades) his sweetheart fights by his side. Battle scenes are both accurate and compelling. The betrayals, slaughters and passions of the day are all splendidly depicted as Llywelyn delivers a blow-by-blow account of the rebellion and its immediate aftermath. The novel's abundant footnotes should satisfy history buffs; its easy, gripping style will enthrall casual readers with what is Llywelyn's best work yet.
New York-born author Morgan Llywelyn is one of the world's leading popular chroniclers of Celtic culture and history. A prolific storyteller, she has written more than twenty books over the past two decades. Her fiction has received several awards and has sold more than 40 million copies, and she herself is recipient of the 1999 Exceptional Celtic Woman of the Year Award from Celtic Women International.
In the words of Judith A. Gifford of the reference publication Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers, "Drawing on the history and lore that are part of her own heritage, the works of Morgan Llywelyn concern themselves with Celtic heroes and heroines, both real and mythical, bringing them and the times they inhabited to life with stunning clarity." Pauline Morgan, writing in the St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, has explained, "[t]he majority of Morgan Llywelyn's books may be regarded as fictional biographies. Each book takes a person, often historical or legendary, and relates the story of their life. Most of the novels with a fantasy connection rely heavily on Celtic mythology, particularly that of the Irish.
Morgan Llywelyn now lives outside of Dublin, Ireland, and has become an Irish citizen.