The Voyage of Mael Duin's Curragh

Patricia Aakhus, Author, Patricia McDowell, Author Story Line Press $12.95 (236p) ISBN 978-0-934257-31-2
In her debut novel, Aakhus imaginatively, dramatically recasts the ancient Irish legend of Mael Duin--adopted son of a chieftain's widow who accidentally learns of his true parents. He discovers that his mother is a madwoman living in a cave and his father a hero killed by Viking raiders. Determined to avenge the death, Mael Duin builds a large curragh (boat) and sets off for the Viking lands with 16 men. After sighting enemy territory, the crew is caught in a storm and drifts away from shore. Lost, they roam the seas, stopping at strange islands--among them Cua, where Mael Duin meets an enchanting queen. This smoothly flowing story glows with fantastic occurrences, magic, prophetic visions and fresh language (``It was the time of evening when grass and leaves are shot straight through with green fire''). Most striking are the lyrical descriptions of the ocean. Recites Mael Duin, ``You wade out . . . then the dark wave comes over you. . . . The sea is full of dark, coming apart in the water, drifting and turning.'' Although character development is thin, the author skillfully vivifies early Irish history. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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