While vividly and movingly conveying the passions and struggles that shaped the character of Dublin, Rutherfurd portrays the major events in Irish history: The tribal culture of pagan Ireland; the mission of St. Patrick; the coming of the Vikings and the founding of Dublin; the glories of the great nearby monastery of Glendalough and the making of treasures like the Book of Kells; the extraordinary career of Brian Boru; and the trickery of Henry II, which gave England its first foothold in Medieval Ireland. The stage is then set for the great conflict between the English kings and the princes of Ireland, and the disastrous Irish invasion of England, which incurred the wrath of Henry VIII and where this book, the first of the two part Dublin Saga, draws to a close, as the path of Irish history takes a dramatic and irrevocable turn.
Rich, colorful and impeccably researched, The Princes of Ireland is epic entertainment spun by a master.
©2004 Edward Rutherfurd; (P)2004 Books on Tape
"A tour de force....Breathtaking." (Orlando Sentinel)
"Rutherfurd literally personifies history." (New York Daily News)
"A richly imagined vision of history, written with genuine delight." (San Francisco Chronicle)
This is basically a fun story about adventures in Ireland's history as seen through the thread of a single family that's been carried down from ancient times to the Reformation. In that way, I found it to be similar to Hawaii and The Source, by James Michener: a sprawling epic, with lots of interesting sub-stories. This is a bit above Michener, though. The author tracks Irish history pretty closely, which I liked. The narrator manages to keep lots of voices straight, which is tough in a work this long.
Not knowing much of Ireland's history - I thougth this an interesting book. While the names are a bit hard to keep track of throughout the various stories - the authors weaves the stories together nicely and adds some "connective" history in between where necessary. It was helpful in trying to get a basic understanding of how Ireland progressed over several centuries.
Rutherfurd's particular genius lies in the wealth of historically accurate detail with which he festoons his stories. This is perhaps why I find Richard Matthews' reading so jarring. I'm sure he does his best with imitating an Irish accent, but it comes across false and annoying after a while. If you don't know what Dublin voices really sound like, you may not mind.
On the other hand, I have his recording of Bill Bryson's "Short History of Nearly Everything", and Matthews is superb.
What an epic story... and so much of it is based in truth. As soon as I finished (after making many excuses to drive around more than necessary to listen a bit more) I looked up more books by this author. This book traces the history of Dublin through the lives of certain people/families and makes a very believeable and sweeping saga. I have never felt so proud of my trickle of Irish blood!
Loved it all the reader was good the characters were great and interesting, Thankfully it was long as I didn't want it to end.
From the start I could not put it down. I looked for excuses to sit in rush hour traffic to get a chance to listen to more. The narration is perfect, and the story is incredible. I enjoyed Rutherfurd's style more than anything. His narrative is beautiful but also direct and clear. I can't wait for more of this author's books to be available in digital audio.
Actually, I was sick for 2 weeks with the flu. It did not take 2 weeks to "read" this book, but I was able to take my time and "re-read" certain parts that I enjoyed or slept through the first time. It has a solid, measured pace through the years; the people, although they are not followed from birth to death, in all cases have all the human attributes of forebears and descendants. I particularly enjoyed the story of Finula, the wannabe Wild Child who is revealed many years later as a matron with seven wild children of her own. The more things change, the more they stay the same. I hope nobody waits until they are stuck in bed with flu to read this one.
Although this is a lengthy audiobook, I found it to be interesting and captivating. The use of fictional characters within the context of historical events was well-suited to this material. The narrator was excellent and easy to listen to, even for such a long time. When I finished, I wished the story had continued as I certainly would have continued listening. The story is well detailed with vibrant characters and settings that are richly described. Truly a fascinating read.
Break the chapters at real boundaries rather than randomly. It is impossible to navigate. It ruins the whole experience.
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