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Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Morgan Llywelyn

History of the World pg183

Brian Boru

I am at least a quarter Irish so that may speak to why I’ve enjoyed so many of Morgan Llywelyn’s books. From her wiki:

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.

In one of those unusual little occurrences, I actually read my first Llywelyn not too long after it had first been published as my original introduction to her writing. My sister had a copy of Lion of Ireland and I read it just after I got out of the USAF in ’82. From Goodreads:

Set against the barbaric splendors of the tenth century, this is a story rich in truth and legend-in which friends become deadly enemies, bedrooms turn into battlefields, and dreams of glory are finally fulfilled. Morgan Llywelyn has written one of the greatest novels of Irish history.

This novel combined imagination, history, mysticism, and fantasy which pretty much pushed a lot of my reading buttons.

Now, I have not read all of her works but I have especially enjoyed reading those that mixed Irish fiction and fantasy. Druids. Finn Mac Cool. Red Branch. Pride of Lions (follow-on to Lion of Ireland.) All of these were excellent stories with a basis of history.

As I look through the listing of her books, I can see I may have to go back and re-read Lion of Ireland and Pride of Lions then pick up and read Brian Boru: Emperor of the Irish. She must have used a lot of factual information in the two novels as well as being able to write a biography.

While the above mentioned fiction is not considered a “series,” she has a series of 20th century Irish novels as well as a second, two-book series called The Arcana. I’ve have read one of these two Arcana books but without having them in front of me, I’m guessing it was the first, Silverhand. Apparently, according to some of the discussion about this book, there was supposed to be a 3rd book of the series but Llywelyn changed publishers and/or had a falling out with her co-author, so the 3rd book has not and most likely will not be written and published.

This is a link to Llywelyn’s official web site. The “Awards” section lists the various books that have been best sellers and won awards. When I checked to see if she had any listings at IMDB I couldn’t find anything but that “Awards” section does show that at least Lion of Ireland and Pride of Lions were optioned for movies but presumably got lost in Hollywood “development hell.”

As I say, I am probably most familiar with Llywelyn’s older Irish historical fiction and fantasy but she has not been stuck in one genre but has historical fiction, contemporary fiction, fantasy, children’s history, and short stories. Nor has she confined herself to writing strictly about the Irish but has used Celtic lore (After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain) as well as fantasy from other parts of Europe (Etruscans and The Horse Goddess for example.)

I’m thinking I might have to go to the library and see just what Llywelyn books are available to re-read.

Photo from Sue Clark licensed under Creative Commons

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Small town Kentucky country boy lived all over the country. Currently in Ruskin, FL