Friday, January 04, 2002

The Sword of Clontarf by Charles A. Brady

1960/2006, 251 pp, Hillside Education, Softcover

After his father is murdered, Niall is forced to leave the only home he has ever known under the cloak of darkness. Fearing for his life, he flees Iceland in search of a grandfather he has never met in far off Ireland. Unbelievably, his grandfather turns out to be none other than King Mael Seachlinn. But Niall is also charged with an important task, to give Brian Boru a prized relic of the Norsemen, Thor’s ring. Will he be able to accomplish his goal?

Already in the first port that his ship lays anchor, he finds out that his father’s wicked murderer has followed him there and is plotting to kill him too. Narrowly escaping, he makes it to Ireland where he must travel on foot alone in a country that is beset with political strife among discontented Kings. The treacherous Queen Gormflaith’s hooded soldiers seems to be everywhere on their powerful steeds performing evil deeds.

On his dangerous journey, he learns of the Norse kings plotting to seize Brian Boru’s throne. As the Norse kings gather more support from surrounding, rival thrones, the odds appear overwhelming for King Brian. Will Niall be able to help save Ireland from the pagan North?

The story includes a colorful cast of realistic characters from poets to kings. More than an entertaining story, the reader also learns about Ireland’s history and culture.

There are Catholic references sprinkled throughout the story, reminding the reader of Ireland’s conversion to the Catholic faith. The Catholic characters will at times greet one another with a sign of their Catholic faith. “Then the monk signed Niall Arenson with the Sign of Three. ‘Christ with you,’ he said. ‘We shall meet again, my son.’ ‘And Mary His Mother and all the saints,’ said Niall Arenson.”

Travel back to ancient Ireland and the time of High King Brian Boru in the Sword of Clontarf, where drama and excitement await you.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Yank (12-18-06)
Available from All Catholic Books

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