A Thousand Suns book blogger
When I was asked if I would like to read an ARC of After Gáirech by Micheál Cladáin I jumped at the chance. Irish mythology has always fascinated me, especially when it comes to The Ulster Cycle (a heroic Irish saga), but this is the first time I have come across a recent fictional retelling that delivers a plausible and enjoyable story based upon the ancient myths and the ‘historical” heroic characters from that era.
The Five Kingdoms (it does sound like a Tolkien novel, but unlike Tolkien, Cladáin depict’s the real Middle Earth) is a land of brave warriors, pagan worship, and unfortunately, political instability. It is a land at war, a land where wealth was measured in cattle. This time is so vastly different to our own, that it reads like fantasy, and in a way, I guess that is what it is, but underneath these legendary characters, one hopes for a gain of truth. I thought Cladáin breathed life back into these long-dead heroes and I really enjoyed reading about his interpretation of events.
I thought this book had a lot to offer and it was a thoroughly entertaining read from beginning to end. As one would expect from a violent time, violence is depicted, but there are also lighter, more amusing moments, much like in The Ulster Cycle, which made the story more rounded and believable.
I have no hesitation in recommending this novel. I was enthralled from the beginning to the very end, and it is certainly a novel that I can see myself reading again.