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The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga (2004)

by Edward Rutherfurd

Series: The Dublin Saga (1)

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2,440444,594 (3.68)59
A sweeping panorama steeped in the tragedy and glory that is Ireland, epitomizes the power and richness of Rutherford's storytelling magic. The saga begins in tribal, pre-Christian Ireland during the reign of the fierce and mighty High kings at Tara, with the fate of two lovers, the princely Conall and the ravishing Deirdre, whose travails cleverly echo the ancient Celtic legend of Cuchulainn.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Great Audible book. Wonderful for long car rides and long hikes ( )
  scoene | Jul 13, 2021 |
Long ago. Long before Saint Patrick came. Before the coming of the Celtic tribes. Before the Gaelic language was spoken. At the time of Irish gods who have not even left their names.
So little can be said with certainty; yet facts can be established. In and upon the earth, evidence of their presence remains. And, as people have done since tales were told, we may imagine.
In those ancient times, on a certain winter's morning, a small event occurred. This we know. It must have happened many times: year after year, we may suppose century after century.
  taurus27 | May 8, 2021 |
I'm so glad that I decided to read the first book of the Dublin Saga as my annual summer read from Edward Rutherford, rather than one of his stand-alone novels (I have Russka and Sarum on my shelf as well), since it completely renewed my faith in his historical fiction. Last year I cheated a bit and read both London and the Forest, which, while interesting, lacked the same intruging characters and drive as Paris, but it's become clear to me that Rutherfurd's writing style has evolved and improved over the years. Obviously this makes me slightly concerned about how much I may enjoy (or not enjoy) reading Russka and Sarum, but hopefully they at least have some good qualities.

But back to the point - this first novel about the Irish city of Dublin (and the surrounding areas) was an absolute joy. It begins its story at a time when Ireland was pre-Christian, an era where druids held an important place in society, and while I'll refrain from referring to as the mists of Irish past or any other such whimsical description (even though it's hard not to be swept up in the mythology and mysticism of the largely unchronicled era). From these beginnings Rutherfurd traces a myriad of Irish families - many of whom don't startout as referring to themselves as Irish, but who came to Ireland as part of Viking, Danish, English, and Norman waves of conquerors and settlers - through time to the Tudor era. He covers the most famous Irish saint (Patrick) with a carefully constructed but plausible interaction with the pre-feudal rulers of Dublin, and gives much credence to the rise and influence of Christianity on the Emerald Isle. Even though I'm not one for Catholicism (or any organized relgion for that matter), the interactions and complicated motivations of the highly spiritual people of Ireland is fascinating - especially considering the differences between the Irish Church and the rest of Christianity. Tied into these religious themes are, of course, many others that drive the growth of any community (and nation) - family relationships, love and marriage, commerce and politics, and Ireland's complicated relationship with England. The finale of the book leave readers hanging a bit, with Ireland firmly in the grasp of Henry VIII and many of our families come to uneasy (but intriguing) alliances, so I'll be hard pressed to leave off reading the second book until next summer! ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
Lots of Irish history, told through fictional family groups. ( )
  Pmaurer | Jul 27, 2020 |
Read this over ten years ago and it still stuck with me. A skillfully written work. ( )
  CatherineMilos | Jul 11, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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A sweeping panorama steeped in the tragedy and glory that is Ireland, epitomizes the power and richness of Rutherford's storytelling magic. The saga begins in tribal, pre-Christian Ireland during the reign of the fierce and mighty High kings at Tara, with the fate of two lovers, the princely Conall and the ravishing Deirdre, whose travails cleverly echo the ancient Celtic legend of Cuchulainn.

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