Eirelan by Liam O'Shiel
Book Synopsis: "As Uinseann often says, we must be content with life and love and the beauty of the Earth. All the rest is dust in the wind." - Liadan Conmaicne Laigain.
Enter into a familiar world that is unfamiliar, a friendly world that is threatening, a world where honor and sacrifice are expected of all. You will meet many wonderful people in this world, and some not so wonderful at all. Conor, Fethnaid, Oran, Liadan, Padraic, Mairin, Aideen, Uinseann, Bradaigh -- they travel a road unlike ours. It is a dangerous road, yet one well worth exploring.
In Eirelan you will live for two months with men and women, old and young, fighters and writers, poets and ship captains, who cannot take for granted that anything they treasure will survive another year, let alone be the inheritance of their children. They dream of a life without fear and struggle. They long for a life filled with love and family and friendships instead of bloodshed and loss and desperate undertakings.
The first of five books set in this time and place, Eirelan tells the story of a two-month struggle for existence fought in the Province Year 999, also known as AD 3953
~ Richi of Tworeads
My Review: This is a beautifully and intelligently written book making a nice change from your typical fantasy novel.
The characters are very realistic, diverse and have great personalities. Some are adventurous and ambitious others are more thoughtful and content with a quiet life, but they are all strong and interesting. They also have realistic emotions, fears (mostly concern for those they care about), and how they deal with the deaths of their friends, comrades and those serving under them.
One of my favourite things was at the start of each chapter is a short piece of writing, typically a journal entry, letter or poem written by one characters, these give great insights into the characters and really helps you connect with them.
Another thing I enjoyed was seeing the world from the 'enemies' point of view, it was great to see them as ordinary people too and not your typical evil fantasy villains.
Most of the problems are fairly minor, lack of maps and appendix (although these can be found on the books excellent web site www.eirelan.com), as well as quite a number of spelling mistakes. I understand that these are to be corrected in the second edition of this book.
I really enjoyed this book and I am REALLY looking forward to the second book in the series. See my full review .