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Druids by Morgan Llywelyn
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Druids (1991)

by Morgan Llywelyn

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Druids - Llywelyn (Book 1)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I would have liked to have had a pronunciation guide like the one in the sequel. I sort of read out loud silently--I need to hear the names and unfamiliar words in my head, and I kept stumbling over the unfamiliar sounds of the Gallic/Gaelic names. I also have a hard time following troop movements and battles, so between that and the names, a large part of the send half of the book was lost on me.

It was a welcome change to read a positive view of the peoples that Caesar defeated. Western civilization would have taken a different turn entirely if the Nature-loving, nature-integrated Celts had defeated the mechanistic, war-loving Romans.
  smfoster | Oct 26, 2009 |
The druid Ainvar tells of Celtic life in Gaul (modern-day France), and of the coming of Julius Caesar and the Romans. The Celts worshipped under the stars and bore a healthy respect for nature. The Romans, in contrast, were obsessed with war, rigidity, and man-made structures. Ainvar's friend Vercingetorix is a Celtic prince determined to stave off the Roman invasion. The story is a sad tale of the conquering of Gaul, for Vercingetorix, of course, ends up a prisoner of Caesar's and is eventually paraded as a spectacle through Rome before being executed. ( )
  molliewatts | Jul 30, 2009 |
I had my doubts about this book, as I am with most books whose summary describes the two main characters as “different as fire and ice”, much less when one is a druid and the other is Vercingetorix. The prose is stilted at first glance without serving much purpose, but when it turns out that the book is narrated by the druid, Ainvar, it fits a little better. Still, it’s something that is never really gotten used to by the end of the book.

Half a point was deducted for both the stiff prose as well as for some questionable imagery—in one scene in particular, a bit of “sex magic” is being performed, and various bits of genitalia are singing and dancing in—presumably—a metaphorical sense. Rather than something joyous and extraordinary, it made me think of a teeny musical revue being put on and made me laugh more than it ought to. Similar things to that were scattered throughout the book, but that was the most outstanding.

Though I originally found this book in the fantasy section of whichever bookstore from which I acquired it, it seemed well-researched enough to be a novel more along the lines of historical fiction; more reliable, perhaps, than Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle books, which deal with Europe and what will become America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Vercingetorix’s exploits were told in loving detail by Ainvar the druid, who met him when they were both adolescents in a Gaulish tribe. The passage of time is very fluid throughout the book, in such a way that one would realize that there are significant chunks of time missing, but they’re neither missed nor obvious in their omission. Caesar’s name was given with its proper Latin pronunciation [YOO-lee-us KI-sar], which lends credit to Llywelyn’s research.

The plot, which follows Vercingetorix from the point of manhood to his eventual surrender to Caesar, is quite compelling in a story format, and is possibly more intriguing because it’s told from a standpoint other than his own, or of someone in his army. I found it absolutely fascinating to read regardless of whether or not it was well-researched. ( )
1 vote raistlinsshadow | Dec 24, 2008 |
As a person of Irish and Welsh descent I have always had an affinity for all things Celtic. When I read Celtic historical fiction, I usually turn to Morgan Llywelyn. This book was very interesting in that it really drives home the fact that the "victors" get to write the history that is passed along and eventually just accepted as fact. But when you peel back the onion, you start to see the biases and predjudices of the person relating the history. You realize there is a whole other side of the story. In the case of the Druids and people of Celtic Gaul, Ceasar "won" and went on to write his history of the Gallic Campaign and the peoples involved, while the Celts "lost" and also kept no written records. Therefore, their side of the story has to be pieced together from all sorts of different sources. I think Morgan has done admirable job of telling a credible version of the other side of the story and has definintely made it entertaining.

I really liked her portrayal of the connections the Druids had to the natural world and to the Other Side, and how they worked to try and keep their people grounded in that connection. I would recommend her work to anyone interested in Druids and Celtic Historical Fiction. ( )
  jveezer | Mar 30, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Morgan Llywelynprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stimpson, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
They [druids] desire to inculcate as their leading tenet, that souls do not become extinct, but pass after death from these present to those beyond. --Gaius Julius Caesar
The druids, men of loftier intellect, and united to the intimate fraternity of the followers of Pythagoras, were absorbed by investigations into matters secret and sublime, and, unmindful of human affairs, declared souls to be immortal. --Ammianus Marcellinus
The druids joined to the study of nature that of moral philosophy, asserting that the human soul is indestructible. --Strabo
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For the druids.
You know who you are.
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He had been dead a long time. (Prologue)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0804108447, Mass Market Paperback)

“Mine was the vast dark sky and the spaces between the stars that called out to me; mine was the promise of magic.”

So spoke the young Celt Ainvar, centuries before the enchanted age of Arthur and Merlin. An orphan taken in by the chief druid of the Carnutes in Gaul, Ainvar possessed talents that would lead him to master the druid mysteries of thought, healing, magic, and battle— talents that would make him a soul friend to the Prince Vercingetorix . . . though the two youths were as different as fire and ice.

Yet Ainvar’s destiny lay with Vercingetorix, the sun-bright warrior-king. Together they traveled through bitter winters and starlit summers in Gaul, rallying the splintered Celtic tribes against the encroaching might of Julius Caesar and the soulless legions of Rome. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Fifteen-year-old Ainvar, protege of the chief druid of the Order of the Wise, leads his Celtic Carnute tribe against Caesar's Roman legions who are attempting to conquer Gaul. Annotation. "Mine was the vast dark sky and the spaces between the stars that called out to me; mine was the promise of magic." So spoke the young Celt Ainvar, centuries before the enchanted age of Arthur and Merlin. An orphan taken in by the chief druid of the Carnutes in Gaul, Ainvar possessed talents that would lead him to master the druid mysteries of thought, healing, magic, and battle -- talents that would make him a soul friend to the Prince Vercingetorix ... though the two youths were as different as fire and ice. Yet Ainvar's destiny lay with Vercingetorix, the sun-bright warrior - king. Together they traveled through bitter winters and starlit summers in Gaul, rallying the splintered Celtic tribes against the encroaching might of Julius Caesar and the soulless legions of Rome. ... From the Paperback edition.… (more)

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