Working closely with leading Irish historians, Edward Rutherfurd in DUBLIN tells a magnificent tale of eleven hundred years of Irish history. REVIEWS
After a haunting prologue set at the timeless prehistoric site of Newgrange on the River Boyne, the narrative begins with the tragic story of Conall and Deirdre the green-eyed girl - part romance, part political thriller, part horror story - at the time of the pagan High Kings of Tara, the druid priests and the coming of Saint Patrick. Their descendants the O'Byrnes, and the MacGowans, Harolds, Doyles, Walshes and Tidies, experience triumph, danger and failure in a sweeping saga that leads us through the coming of the Vikings, the making of monastic treasures like the Book of Kells, the glorious reign of Brian Boru and the council where Ireland falls for the trickery of an English king.
So begins the long conflict between English and Irish cultures, through the English rulers at Dublin, the wild life 'beyond the Pale', the intrigues of the Fitzgeralds and Butlers. The story reaches its climax at the Reformation - after the only Irish attempt to invade England - when Henry VIII crushes the revolt of 'Silken Thomas' Fitzgerald, and the sacred Staff of Saint Patrick mysteriously vanishes.
Druids and chieftains, monks and smugglers, noblewomen and farmwives, craftsmens and orphans, rebels and cowards - DUBLIN captures the essence of place and people in this thrilling story steeped in the tragedy and glory that are Ireland.
From Maeve Binchy in Ireland On Sunday:
'It is a giant, sprawling, easy-to-read story told in the James Michener manner...When I used to teach history years ago in a girls school, I would have loved a book like this, something that would have transported the pupils back to the days of gods and goddesses, high kings and druids without any pain. It's like a well-researched soap opera, where the real and the fictional merge easily and a lot of background detail can be absorbed effortlessly...
Rutherfurd...is adept at introducing unusual customs which the reader is unlikely to forget, like the ritual the ancient Irish clans had of electing their king - a white bull was killed and then the king-to-be had to mate with a female sacred horse. Rutherfurd says he has checked this out with scholars and they all agree it was indeed the custom, as with many Indo-European peoples who had all 'depended for their leadership upon men who were wedded to the horse'. I'm sure it's true, it just wasn't one of the aspects they dwelt on too deeply at my own convent school...
Rutherfurd's tales of Dublin are all part of my childhood stories. I knew how they would turn out. They were about places I see all around me still...There were things I had forgotten, like that Leopardstown Racecourse is so named because it's on land that was once the site of a leper hospital. I had forgotten, or quite possibly supressed, the fact that in early Ireland the Irish had English slaves, not the other way round. So I tried to put myself into the position of someone who didn't know these stories at all and I believe they work just fine...
Edward Rutherfurd has written about Dublin with love. It is an expertly researched, full, undemanding and highly readable account of a place he has grown to know well. A place that will join Salisbury, London, the New Forest and Russia in a form of social history and storytelling he has made his very own.'
From the New York Times:
'A sweeping, carefully reconstructed portrait of a nation...Leaps through the centuries.'READ REVIEW
From the Seattle Times:
'Not all good things come in small packages. If you like books that are big, Edward Rutherfurd is your man. He writes wonderful sagas, tales that cover centuries, always keeping these long stories lively by telling us about the events and conflicts of people's lives. Rutherfurd does the painstaking research; the reader has all the fun.'
From the San Antonio Express-News:
'Rutherfurd is the history teacher you wished you had in high school...While high kings, conquerors and princes are often at the center stage of the book, it is the fictional merchants, craftsmen, chieftains, and soldiers affected by their actions that make us care about the history.'
'Historical fiction fans can settle in for a long, cozy read as Rutherfurd conducts a spellbinding tour of ancient Ireland. Employing the chatty style he perfected in his best-selling novels Sarum(1987) and London (1997), he covers 17 centuries of Irish history, beginning in pre-Christian Ireland and culminating in the mid-sixteenth century. From the passionate tale of Conall andDeirdre--a reworking of the celebrated Cuchulainn legend--to the desecration of Irish Catholic churches and shrines during the reign of Henry VIII, the history of this island nation is viewed through a kaleidoscope of interwoven historical and fictional characters caught up in all the pageantry and drama of their particular time and place in history. The real focal point of this sprawling saga is, however, the city of Dublin itself. The first installment in a two-part series on the origins and evolution of one of the world's most venerable urban centers, the narrative is distinguished by the panoramic portrait it paints of Dublin through the ages. Like James Michener and Leon Uris, Rutherfurd does a magnificent job of packaging a crackling good yarn within a digestible overview of complex historical circumstances and events. After devouring this initial volume, readers will eagerly anticipate the publication of the conclusion of the page-turning Dublin Saga.'
'As in his earlier sagas, SARUM and LONDON, Rutherfurd evokes the history of a time and place by writing interlocking stories of individual men and women and their descendants over many years. The history of Ireland takes shape as Rutherford details the stories of Irish people from the dawn of time through the reign of Henry VIII. It's a pleasure to listen to John Keating as he narrates the complex story line and creates believable voices for the many characters Rutherford weaves together in this tapestry of Irish history. While the abridgment is well done, the editing leaves something to be desired--the lack of breaks between scenes can be disorienting.'
Working closely with leading Irish historians, Edward Rutherfurd in DUBLIN tells a magnificent tale of eleven hundred years of Irish history.