The Irish Century series is the story of the Irish people's epic struggle for independence through the tumultuous course of the twentieth century. Morgan Llywelynís magisterial multi-novel chronicle of that story began with 1916, which was followed by 1921, 1949, and 1972. It now concludes with 1999: A Novel of the Celtic Tiger and the Search for Peace. 1999 brings the story from 1972 to the disarmament talks and beginnings of reconciliation among the Irish at the end of the twentieth century.
In Llywelyn's fifth and final installment in the Irish Century series, she offers a fastidious take on The Troubles, weaving facts and historical figures with the fictitious lives of a former IRA soldier, his American-born wife and his resolute republican mother.
Photojournalist Barry Halloran, formerly an IRA Volunteer, races from the aftermath of Bloody Sunday to Dublin, where he seeks the guidance of his training officer, Seamus McCoy. Concerned that the sickly Seamus wants to return to active service, Barry spontaneously proposes to his mercurial lover, Barbara, in order to detain Seamus as his best man for his wedding.
After the wedding, Barbara turns into something of a shrew and Barry's career begins to take off providing a convenient device to document the escalating conflict.
Not even Seamus's imprisonment or the crippling of Barry's mother by a car bomb deters him from faithfully capturing The Troubles on film. Though Llywelyn is meticulous in cataloging the wartime atrocities committed by both sides, the narrative lacks a driving force and loses steam in covering the myriad skirmishes and failed peace talks. Readers familiar with the previous volumes will enjoy this the most; the uninitiated may have trouble.
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.