The sequel to Druids finds Anivar and his clan looking for a new home after the invasion of Julius Caesar. Knowing the rich background of this clan adds richness to this audio but is not essential to make this an interesting listen. Simon Vance, in stentorian tones, sets the stage for this adventure story with the brief prologue. Moving into the narrative voice of Anivar, Vance becomes the leader of the clan, a strong man with moments of personal insight and sensitivity who strives to preserve his culture in a new world. Vance's characterizations of other characters are well rounded and effective, providing breadth while maintaining the focus on Anivar.
After Julius Caesar triumphs over Gaul, the druid Ainvar and his three wives sail west to the brilliant green island of Hibernia. Here, Ainvar and his clan try to reestablish themselves.
Ainvar's "senior" wife, Briga, provides constant wisdom and support for him. Strong, sensible, and with druidic powers of her own, Briga overcomes all obstacles. Listeners who appreciate strong female characters will love this woman of the druids.
©2006 Morgan Llywelyn; (P)2006 Tantor Media Inc
"Not just fantasy fans will appreciate this gentle, quietly dignified tale." (Publishers Weekly)
The author brings a sense of history to this rich novel. Although at times the story was slow to develop, it was compensated by the warmth and truth of the characters. Simon Vance is a master narrator, and gave the protagonist a wisdom and sense of humor that was completely endearing. This was one of the first audio books I listened to, and it moved me. The expulsion from their home, being forced to flee and relocate in a completely foreign culture, and the internal changes neccessary to survive the trauma were captivating. Magic was scarce yet mysticism and spirituality abounded. I was sad when the story ended. I wanted to continue being a voyeur, watching the lives of the characters. Rarely has a novel captivated me in this way.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Chief Druid Ainvar, his three wives and their children, and about 15 other survivors from their Celtic clan are sailing west to Hibernia after years of hiding in the forests of Gaul after the Romans destroyed their clan and Julius Caesar murdered their charismatic leader, Vercingetorix.
Ainvar, who relates their adventure in the first person, expended his druid magic in their last fight against the Romans and he knows how weak his tribe, the Carnutes, is. But the Romans are determined to wipe them out, so their only hope for salvation is to leave Gaul. When their little band arrives in Hibernia, they are at the sufferance and mercy of the Celtic clans who already inhabit the island. They must find a way to fit in with these Celts who have different beliefs and customs.
The Greener Shore is a beautifully told historical fantasy. Morgan Llywelyn's language and characters are deep and vivid. Her female characters are particularly strong, wise, and believable. Ainvar himself is a thinker (we are often privy to his interesting inner musings on the nature of man and society) and he???s gentle except when the subject is Julius Caesar.
Morgan Llywelyn???s language is most beautiful when describing the events that came before the Carnutes??? exodus: the shining glory of Vercingetorix and the horror of Roman ambition. Thus, The Greener Shore reads like an extended epilogue ??? all of the tension, action, and excitement have already happened and this is the last section that usually just explains whether or not they lived happily ever after. So I found myself thinking that Ms. Llywelyn should have written about Vercingetorix and the Romans instead. The Greener Shore is beautiful stuff, but it???s anti-climactic. The infrequent bouts of tension are quickly resolved and it feels like things are constantly winding down. Then I realized that this novel is a sequel to Druids which was not clear in its description. This is really an extended epilogue, but it's a beautiful one.
I would add my voice to the first review and agree with everything that was written. It is an exciting book, and you are drawn into all the characters' lives. The characters do not change any history, they merely live in it, painting a picture of living at the time of great events. For most of the book they are living at the far edge of these events. I loved it.
Picks up the story of Ainvar and the Druids
Wrapped up more plotlines, most were very briefly wrapped up (or not at all) after long builds: the fate of Ainvar/Briga's first child, leaving the first tribe on bad terms, one significant character being killed in an apparent tribal politics power struggle, the mysterious older race, Ainvar losing and regaining his powers or confidence (never clear which) ad nauseum
Preferably one about Dracula or Translyvania from which the Gaulish-Irish characters seemed to have gotten their accents somehow
I have enjoyed many of her books, but not this one. I would stay away from anything performed by Simon Vance.
I would not recommend this one. It started out pretty well and of course Ms Llywelyn is an encyclopedia of Celtic lore and history. The story really falters once they reach Ireland, where everyone speaks the same language as the Gauls, so they all understand each other perfectly, once they get past the accents. There are other large holes in the story. It has become nonsensical.
His performance is awful and very distracting. The Gauls speak English with sometimes a "Russian" accent and other times they sound like the old Yiddish speaking men of my childhood in the Bronx. The Irish speak the same language as the Gauls, but with some sort of Irish accent. When narrating, the main character speaks somewhat normally, except for the exaggerated rolling of his Rs. Then when he speaks to another character, he gets some strange Eastern European accent as done by Angelina Jolie. The other characters are done with terrible voices that remind me of The Flight of the Conchords "Badly Burned Albanian Boy".
I can see that and it would probably be a pretty bad movie.
While I will willingly admit that this book comes nowhere close to being as good as other epic books Llywelyn has written, I will say that the way this story was written is absolutely beautiful. It's like an elongated poem that touches the spirit and calms the mind. I found Ainvar to be much more relatable in The Greener Shore than in Druids, as it is told through his eyes. Briga was awesome, The Red Wolf was awesome as well. That being said, I feel like there could have been more active conflict. We're told that the clans on Ibernia fight ceaselessly yet it feels like they never do in the story. Like not even once. And any conflict that does happen is told after the fact by people who survived its ramifications, so all suspense is pretty much snuffed out in an instance. I'm not spoiling anything, believe me. This book is much more of a meditation than anything else. If you want sword fights, knights in armor, and epic battles like some of Llywelyns other notable works then steer clear of this one. The Greener Shore focuses much more on explaining the great mystery that is Druidry and life in increasingly eloquent and poetic ways. Llywelyn draws upon the power of magic itself to weave a dreamy tale that stirs with inexplicable power and radiates with wonder.
I'm Robert's wife, a retired physician and homeschool mom whose grown kids now love history, literature, sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction
The narrator was perfect for the story. Distinguishable voices and never annoying with the women's voices. Even though this is a sequel, I never felt like I was missing out on anything by never having read the first one. The author alludes to it and its deeply historical events clearly and with as much tantalizing detail as needed. I love this time of history, and this is a great way to get to know Ireland's ancient past. Her book 1916 (also great on Audible) was my first with her, and also quite good. If you like this type of book don't miss the two books by Edward Rutherfurd in the Dublin Saga (Princes of Ireland and Rebels of Ireland). All these books complement each other nicely and provide a good way to learn about the various ancient people of Ireland and how their history developed over the centuries, internally and externally.
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