Sat, Dec

The Greener Shore



Devotees of Llywelyn's glorious Celtic fantasy, Druids, will welcome this sequel, a beautifully told adventure story that avoids the usual adventure story clichÈs. After Julius Caesar triumphs over Gaul, the druid Ainvar and his three wives sail west, steering clear of Roman-occupied Albion, to the brilliant green island of Hibernia (so-called because a Roman expedition mistakenly assumed "winter lasted all year" there).

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When last we saw Ainvar the druid, his tribe's revered sacred grove was being destroyed by Roman legionnaires at the end of the popular Druids. Ainvar himself was in danger of following his beloved king into captivity and death. Now we learn that that was not to be. Ainvar and his family have escaped to Ireland after years of hiding in the forests of Gaul. There they encounter other Celts with somewhat less refined cultural ways, and there they create a new Celtic society from the remnants of Gaulish mysticism as well as from earthy Irish folkways.

Soon after landing, Ainvar encounters the T˙atha DÈ Danann, the diminutive original folk of Eriu (the island's Gaelic name). The T˙atha DÈ Danann, who usually are invisible to people, ask only to be remembered. Ainvar is distraught when they no longer appear, but is comforted to learn from a bewildered warrior that the T˙atha DÈ Danann once unexpectedly revealed themselves to him.

Later, Ainvar briefly inhabits a wolf's body and hears the piercing scream of the death-predicting banshee. Throughout, Ainvar's "senior wife," Briga, provides both wisdom and support. Not just fantasy fans will appreciate this gentle, quietly dignified tale.

This highly readable tale offers unforgettable women characters, of whom Ainvar's magical and sensuous wife, Briga, is an especially vivid example. As always, Llywelyn can be counted on to create a compelling tale with strong characterizations. Her devoted readers will not be disappointed.



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.