Book Review: After Gairech

Reviewed by D. K. Marley — The Historical Fiction Company

“From the outset, I was completely enthralled by this story, with one caveat – it did take me a while to sort out the characters and the storyline and it wasn’t until about a third way into the book that I finally said, “oh, okay, I get what is happening” – and after that, I am so glad I stuck it out, but I must say that I think the first books need to be read before this one to get an overall understanding of what is going on.

The narrative is rich and full-bodied like a deep dark ale guzzled in a dark tavern somewhere in ancient Ireland. and this legend-come-to-life is one I was not familiar with but am now hooked in knowing more (the other books are now in my TBR list). You can definitely get the sense of the author’s passion for Ireland and the research, wow, the immense research he must have done to bring this to life is simply astounding. I truly felt as if I was reading actual history instead of a myth/history, and I highlighted an entire chapter as one of my favorites – that of the encounter between the Cailleach, Queen Medb and Conell – that glued me to each and every word in anticipation.

The second passage I adored was from the “Storyteller” chapter – “How could he tell them there was no glory in battle? All they saw was the shiny helmets, the mail coats, golden torcs and armbands; the riches and the banter, men and women who enjoyed their lives. How could he explain to those who toiled all day in a field, it came at a price? How could he tear apart their dreams, telling them battle held only blood, sh*t, and the screams of the dying, all calling for their mothers in the agony of their final moments?….” and more… just read it, you will be simply captivated. These brief excerpts give you an idea of the profound depth and storytelling ability of Micheal Cladain. Read this book… you won’t regret it!”

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