Conor Mac Nessa, king of Ulster, rapes queen Medb of Connacht on the banks of the river Boyne, which causes an inexorable sequence of events. The outcome of those events is war between Connacht and Ulster. As the tension builds, a hero of Ulster gets caught up in a love triangle which ends in tragedy and forces him to adorn the mantle of berserker!

It takes a great deal of courage to pick up something so well-loved as the Irish sagas of the Red Branch and the Milesian Kings and dust them off. But the author has managed to do this very well. As he says in the closing notes, there are frequently inconsistencies and confusions in the versions that have come down to us, so here is a well-written attempt to fill some of the gaps, to take some of the more fantastical segments and translate them into a world that we can more readily understand – in the great tradition of writers like Rosemary Sutcliff and Henry Treece. Highly recommended!

David Ebsworth


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