The Hounds of the Morrigan

Pat Oshea, Author Holiday House $16.95 (469p) ISBN 978-0-8234-0595-4
O'Shea makes her debut in this book that one wishes would go on past its spellbinding length, almost 500 pages. Although the writing took 10 years, sure it reads as if it were no trouble at all, at all for the author. As have many of her fellow native Irish storytellers, she finds inspiration in the island's legendary heroes. But her uproariously funny, scarely, suspenseful fairy tale is entirely original. The enchantment begins at once as two evil spirits fly to Galway to await The Morrigan, Great Queen: ""All the time invisible; except once, when they swooped down on a basking shark and frightened it silly. . . All the time silent; except when they tapped their teeth with their finger-nails and sent lightning. . . .'' In the city, the spirits become two strange women on a motorbike, followed by their hounds. ``All this because a boy was about to buy a book in the second-hand bookshop, in the small grey city.'' The boy is Patrick Joseph (Pidge), urged by something he doesn't understand to own the ancient, tattered pages; it looks very boring. But he takes ``A Book of Patrick's Writing'' home and it throws him, as well as his five-year-old sister Brigit, into the war on the side of noble Cuchulain against wicked Morrigan. Moving into the house near to the children, the demonic females fail again and again to steal the miraculous volume. Pidge and Brigit escape by a hair's breadth from each deadly trapat times saved by fairies in the guise of tinkers, frequently by the mischief created by silver-tongued Brigit, a genius at telling lies that frustrate the foe. All the while, Cuchulain's valiant army and The Morrigan's forces are rushing to a decisive battle. In an astonishing finale, O'Shea describes a lyrical moment when Pidge and Brigit try to remember who has left gifts for them . . . and why. (All ages)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986
Release date: 03/01/1986
Prebound-Sewn - 674 pages - 978-0-606-16707-9
Hardcover - 469 pages - 978-0-19-275281-9
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