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. The previous 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.
Now 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.
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.