Genre: historical fiction, Juv/YA, myth & religion
Setting: Ancient times, Ireland
Rated : 3 Stars
This is a YA book based on the Irish legend of The Táin. Cúchulainn is the legendary Ulster warrior who is forced to defend the province from the Connacht invasion, and all over one brown bull.
I suppose I should mention that The Táin is my favourite of the Irish myths, and I’ve read a few verions of this story. Kinsella’s translation is probably the most accurate, but Morgan Llywelyn’s On Raven’;s Wing is my favourite novelisation of the legend. And this book does very little to change my mind.
There is little by way of characterisation. Setanta/Cuchulainn only appears when he is doing something, there is little realistic motivation, and I didn’;t buy any of the characters.
The myth is a tale of romance, magic, of honour, duty and friendship. Little of this appears in the book. The fight between Ferdia and Cuchulainn should be emotive and upsetting, here I really didn’t care.
Then again, it is a YA book so maybe Gebler felt he shouldn’t go too much into the emotions preferring to stick to the adventure and the heroics. If so he did an okay job.