cover image The Last Prince of Ireland

The Last Prince of Ireland

Morgan Llywelyn. William Morrow & Company, $22 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10794-9

This powerful partisan novel by the author of Druids recounts the aftermath of the last concerted attempt by Celtic nobility in Ireland to throw off English domination. When Elizabeth I sent her forces to the Catholic country to guard against attempts to retake the British Isles for Rome, her commanders used bribery and threats to coerce some nobles to swear fealty to the English throne. Others, led by Hugh O'Neill, held out during the Nine Years' War until the final defeat at the Battle of Kinsale in 1602. When this work opens a year later, a chieftain from the south, Donal Cam O'Sullivan of the now destroyed fortress town of Dunboy, has resorted to the desperate expedient of leading his people across a hostile Ireland to seek safety with loyal clans far to the north. A thousand civilians and soldiers set out but, harassed at every turn by those seeking the price on O'Sullivan's head and tormented by fierce winter weather and by hunger, only 34 men and one woman survive. This tale of courage, love, cruelty and treachery, one of the great legends of Ireland, receives vivid, evocative treatment here. (May)