Morgan Llywelyn (born December 3, 1937) is an American-born Irish author best known for her historical fantasy, historical fiction, and historical non-fiction. Her fiction has received several awards and has sold more than 40 million copies, and she herself is recipient of the 1999 Exceptional Celtic Woman of the Year Award from Celtic Women International.
I read about 3, a trilogy I thought, in 1979 or so, countless bookshops I have asked along the way…. to no avail… ha!
One of her most popular works is Druids, the story of a young boy who becomes a Druid in Gaul at the time the Romans are invading. Through his friendship with the new king of Gaul, he hopes to prevent the onslaught of the Roman armies and the destruction they will certainly wreak on his way of life. This novel has an oddly realist tone, probably related to the overwhelming odds faced by the protagonists. It also contains excellent descriptions of Druid rites and life during the Gaulish period. Though not quite as good as Finn Mac Cool in terms of vision, it stands as a good example of Llewelyn’s work and is heartily reccomended to historical fantasy buffs and fans of Celtic work alike. Contains gritty and realistic violence, but otherwise seems mostly suitable for young adults.
Probably the best Llewellyn book I have read (though I’m still missing several) is Red Branch, a compelling version of the life of Irish legend Cuchulain, the Champion of Ulster. Not only could I not put this one down, but I also actually cried more than once. Yet having finished it, I don’t at all feel weighed down. Rather, I feel the triumph that humans and our free will can have over destiny and even mortality itself. Cuchulain delighted me, from the young scrapper who challenged everyone he met to fight, to the aging man who recognized the death in every life. This novel presents aspects of a hero that are seldom celebrated, if they are even remembered. Once again, Llewelyn proves she is completely at home in the folklore of Ireland, and she weaves a story suspended between life and death, untterly believable, lamentable, and celebratory all at once. Give yourself a good chunk of private time to finish it, and don’t be afraid to cry. Finally, Llewelyn has overcome the difficulty she has with endings and has trancended despair.
Since the above was so well written, saved me the time.. see more at Ravens Reviews: http://members.fortunecity.com/arwen_e/ko/morganl.html