Llywelyn's second novel in the series she inaugurated with 1916 (1998) furthers her investigation of Irish history by focusing on Ireland's struggle for freedom from Britain. This volume begins in 1917 in the aftermath of the Easter Rising and carries through to the civil war and the establishment of the Republic of Ireland.
That Llywelyn knows her Irish history, culture, language and ambience is unquestionable. Her story follows Henry Mooney, a journalist torn between the traditional demands of family and personal ambition and his commitment to his country. He is a supporter of the Republican cause but a political moderate and neutral observer by nature, moves with alacrity among the various factions, apparently enjoying journalistic immunity as he uses his pen to further the Irish cause and attack the British.
As the situation in the country deteriorates, Henry's personal life becomes more complex. Smitten with passionate S°le Halloran, but unable to possess her since she is the wife of his best friend and Easter veteran Ned (protagonist of 1916), Henry falls in love with beautiful Anglo-Irish siren Ella Rutledge, further dividing his loyalties.
Often sliding into essayistic prose, with footnotes supplementing the text, the novel depicts events and political developments in exhaustive detail. Though the account of the civil war is thorough and nuanced, readers of 1916 and other popular books by Llywelyn (Lion of Ireland; Bard, etc.) may be taken aback by the historical heft of this offering.
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.