Liath Luachra: The Swallowed by Brian O’Sullivan
Liath Luachra: The Swallowed is a historical fantasy set in second century Ireland. It is book two of the Irish Woman Warrior series.
Liath is the leader of a band of warriors. They are engaged by local tribe leaders to take on dangerous tasks. This book opens with them pursuing raiders to retrieve a kidnapped woman. However, the job isn’t quite what it seems and Liath now has a blood-price on her head from an aggrieved brother.
She’s encouraged to take on a new task, and thus avoid the wrath of Dubba Carne, by going in search of missing settlers in a wild region known as the Lonely Land, a place where few willingly go as stories abound of mythical beasts and strange disappearances. Her motley band consists of warriors, a spy and a gifted seer. They eventually find a partly built settlement, but no sign of the people who built it. However, danger lurks; a dark entity sweeps through the settlement and that night they are attacked by creatures who are no ordinary wolves.
This is the second book I’ve read by this author, and I do enjoy his descriptive passages about the landscapes in this era of Ireland. Liath is a brave warrior, but although she leads a team, she’s also a loner, preferring her own company. The storyline is based loosely around Iron Age myths, and I thought the author did a good job of making the fantasy elements believable. My one complaint is that, at times, there was an overuse of adverbs at the beginning of sentences, which made the writing style a little dated.
Suitable for those who enjoy fantasy, or who have an interest in early Irish historical tales.
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Ireland: Second century.
Osraighe: Ireland’s shadowy centre, a desolate region of forest, marshes and mountainous terrain where unwary travellers are ‘swallowed’ and never seen again.
Caught up in an intra-tribal conflict when her latest mission turns sour, the woman warrior Liath Luachra finds herself coerced into a new undertaking.
Dispatched to Osraighe to find a colony of missing settlers, she must lead a mismatched group of warriors, spies, and druids through a land of spectral forest, mysterious stone structures, and strange forces that contradict everything she knows of the Great Wild.
Haunted by a dead woman, struggling to hold her war-band together, Liath Luachra must confront her own internal demons while predators prowl the shadow between the trees …
Awaiting their moment to feed.
Brian O’Sullivan was born in county Cork, Ireland. On completing a degree at University College Cork, he went on to travel extensively. He is now based in New Zealand with his family but returns to Ireland on a regular basis.
Brian writes fiction that incorporates strong elements of Irish culture, language, history and mythology. These include literary short stories (The Irish Muse collection), mystery thrillers (The Beara Trilogy) and a contemporary version of the Fionn mac Cumhaill/ Fenian legends (The Fionn mac Cumhaill Series). Brian also edits and writes non-fiction through the ‘Celtic Mythology Collection’ series published by Irish Imbas Books,
Although he writes predominantly for an Irish audience, Brian’s unique style and humour has meant that his books have become firm favorites of readers all around the world.