The atmosphere surrounding the little boy vibrated with tension. He could not see the stifled anger and baffled desire, but he sensed their residue accumulating like dustballs in the corners of the fort. Unspoken recriminations crowded the silences; bitter glances were hurled like spears over small Setanta’s head.
When I first read this book I wrote the month and year inside the cover, so I know that I first read it in February 1994, but I’ve reread it plenty of times in the past 13 years. It has been one of my favourite books ever since. That might possibly be because it is based on the Irish legend of the Táin Bó Cúalnge, or Cattle-Raid of Cooley. The Táin is made up of a collection of stories, based around the heroes of the Red Branch, the warriors of Ulster, and especially Cúchulainn.