cover image The Greener Shore: A Novel of the Druids of Hibernia

The Greener Shore: A Novel of the Druids of Hibernia

Morgan Llywelyn, . . Ballantine, $24.95 (301pp) ISBN 978-0-345-47766-8

Devotees of Llywelyn's glorious Celtic fantasy, Druids (1991), will welcome this sequel, a beautifully told adventure story that avoids the usual adventure story clichés. After Julius Caesar triumphs over Gaul, the druid Ainvar and his three wives sail west, steering clear of Roman-occupied Albion, to the brilliant green island of Hibernia (so-called because a Roman expedition mistakenly assumed "winter lasted all year" there). Soon after landing, Ainvar encounters the Túatha Dé Danann, the diminutive original folk of Eriu (the island's Gaelic name). The Túatha Dé Danann, who usually are invisible to people, ask only to be remembered. Ainvar is distraught when they no longer appear, but is comforted to learn from a bewildered warrior that the Túatha Dé Danann once unexpectedly revealed themselves to him. Later, Ainvar briefly inhabits a wolf's body and hears the piercing scream of the death-predicting banshee. Throughout, Ainvar's "senior wife," Briga, provides both wisdom and support. Not just fantasy fans will appreciate this gentle, quietly dignified tale. (May)