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Publisher's Summary

The saga begins in tribal, pre-Christian Ireland during the reign of the fierce and mighty High Kings at Tara, with the tale of two lovers, the princely Conall and the ravishing Deirdre, whose travails cleverly echo the ancient Celtic legend of Cuchulainn. From that stirring beginning, Rutherfurd takes the reader on a powerfully imagined journey through the centuries. Through the interlocking stories of a memorable cast of characters (druids and chieftains, monks and smugglers, noblewomen and farmwives, merchants and mercenaries, rebels and cowards) we see Ireland through the lens of its greatest city.

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

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  • Overall

Lovely Summer Read

This novel is a series of stories tracing Irish history over a number of centuries. The stories are woven together by place and by characteristics or belongings ascribed to each family that travel down through the generations. In fact, Dublin itself is as much a character as any of the people in the stories. Although some of the human characters could have used more depth, the overall historical impact makes it well worth the time spent.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alun
  • Melrose, MA, USA
  • 07-07-04

Couldn't turn the ignition off

I'd had trouble putting down Mr. Rutherford's other books (Sarum, London, New Forest), so I eagerly downloaded his latest and wasn't disappointed. His account of Irish history through the lives of fictional characters is both educational and entertaining. There is a little bit of everything, adventure, drama, love, intrigue, you name it. If anything, I found in previous books he would rush through the last century of history and so I am glad that he is devoting two volumes for Princes of Ireland. Of course, now I have to wait for the second volume!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I have to say that this is one of the best books I have listened to. The story is easy to follow and all of the characters are vivid. The reading is well done, easy to understand and yet maintains the flavor of Irish.

I wanted a book to help me see an over view of Irish history and this was perfect! The best part is the writer didn't drag you through graphic episodes of sex or violence. You were aware that these things were happening in Irish history, but the reader didn't have to smeared with it.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Classic

This book is extremely well written and masterfully narrated. I have read this author's Sarum and London, and have the hard copy of this, but chose instead to listen to it. I am glad I did as it brought the history to life for me.

If any of you readers out there want more saga's of Ireland, I would encourage you to read Trinity and Redemption by Leon Uris. should get both those for 5 star listening like the Prince's.

I am getting ready to listen to the Rebel's and know that it will be as enjoyable as this.

A wonderful listen, a great book.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Hard to put down

LOVED the book - the author takes his basic cast of characters from the time of the druids and follows them through the centuries that follow. The influences brought by successive conquests/invasions are woven skillfully into the lineage, and specific traits repeat in generations to follow.

The narrator is equally accomplished - he carries the various voices extraordinarily well through the combination of inflection and accent.

Imagine an almost-60 woman shopping for groceries with headphones on, oblivious to the world. That was me, and while there were MANY quizzical looks, I just couldn't turn the story off. Heck, the teens do it all the time, why not me?

I'm already well into the sequel, and loving it also.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


The story is fascinating and the reader makes it even better. I learned a great deal about the early history of Ireland and its relationship with England and Scandinavia. I look forward to the next installment.

We think of the "Dark Ages" as, well, dark and this book gives insight into the social structure of the times and how sophisticated they were. I was especially fascinated in the womens' role and how much power and freedom they posessed.

I think what made it so listenable were the characters, who were blessed and cursed with personality traits that are so recognizable. Very absorbing.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kelly
  • San Pablo, CA, USA
  • 04-24-05

Did I REALLY listen to all 26 hours of this book?!

Oh yeah! I found myself looking for reasons to get in the car and listen to this book! Thank goodness I have an ipod, or I wouldn't have done anything around the house until this book was finished! Similiar to Rutherford's "The Forrest" (which I hardily reccommend), The Princes of Ireland follows several families through history and looks at how their lives have intertwined. You'll cheer for true love, gasp at human sacrifice and see how like in modern days, a simple word or action can be misjudged. If nothing else, you will come away with a better understanding of the complexities of Ireland, both historical and modern. It is one thoughly enjoyable read!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Outstanding Story!

This book was a very well written story with characters that are believeable. The way the author ties some historical facts alongside some well-placed fiction makes for a brilliant story and a book I could not stop listening to. It gave me a better appreciation for Irish history and how the people of Ireland came to be. I strongly endorse this book. Hugh Connelly, President, Burlington County Ancient Order of Hibernians.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

more rutherfurd please

I have just finished Princes of Ireland and even after 25 hours I am sad that it is over. Superbly developed characters are set into the context of fascinating historical details. This is my third Rutherfurd epic (Sarum, New Forest) and I enjoyed this the most. This could be because I listened to it only in my car and as I am in my car at least twice a day I got to listen more frequently than I would get chances to pick up the book to read, therefore the story is more immediate and memorable....(just a theory !). Please could we get other Rutherford tales ? How about London?

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


"The Princes of Ireland" is an excellent novel. Edward Rutherfurd is one of my favorite novelists for historical fiction. His research is impeccable and the story line is engaging. While the main characters are fictional, the history is accurate. The book follows groups of families down through the centuries as they live and interact during Ireland's most pivotial times. If you'd like to learn more about the history of Ireland, this book is for you. The narration is well done and the narrator's voice is well modulated and easy to listen too. I'm off to download the next in this Dublin Saga series!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful