Last week, I touched on Irish mythology and places to research it and all that good stuff. Today, I have three recommendations that have heavy Irish/Celtic mythology influences in their plots and worldbuilding or is essentially historical fiction. I even found a list of books to add to my ever-growing reading list.
First, let’s start off with the recommendations that I have read.
- The Fionavar Tapestry Series: The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay. I really love how rich the world is in this series and how Mr. Kay just twists mythologies to offer a fresh, alternative take on some of the stories and characters (Diarmuid is a character in this series). His writing style for this series is very much high fantasy. If you enjoyed reading The Lord of the Rings, I think you’ll enjoy this series. Five Canadian university students are picked to go to Fionavar by a mage, Loren Silvercloak, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a king reigning in one of the countries of Fionavar. They expect to be there for a couple of days and come right back to find no time has passed. However, one student freaks out and breaks their circle right as the transportation spell is cast and things just escalate from there. I’ll go ahead and mention that the end of this book can be really hard to read as there is a rape scene. It is fully a great series, though, and worth reading.
- The Danaan Trilogy: The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard. I haven’t read this series in a couple of years, but this was the first ebook series where I was actually willing to pay more than $3 for an ebook. I’ll have to reread this at some point this year and see how it stands up. From the blurb on Goodreads: “Allison O’Malley’s plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother.…What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison’s mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn’t trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan?” That says it all about the Irish mythology influence there. This is more of YA series from what I remember, so if you enjoy that genre, I imagine you’ll enjoy this series.
- The Dublin Saga: The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd. I remember this book took me a long time to get through (I think I had to check it out from the library twice). It was one of those heavy reads with a lot to keep up with and a lot of characters. Mr. Rutherfurd covers the major events of Irish history over 11 centuries, especially events that made Dublin into what it is today. It is a historical fiction work that pulls heavily from the history of Ireland, including the mythology of the people there. I remember thoroughly enjoying it, but with so many different characters and so many moving parts, it is most certainly a saga and may take a bit of time to read.
I found a list of books as I was trying to remember what all I have read with Irish mythology influences and now I have more books to read. Whoops. I found a list from Tor.com that focuses on fantasies inspired by mythology from the British Isles (and includes Arthurian legends, which are always fun to read). Of course, Goodreads.com has a list of suggestions as well. If you’re still looking for a list of recommendations on the source material, here’s a list from Bookwitty.com.
I think I may have to start off with the Riddle Master trilogy by Patricia A. McKillip (you know, in the copious amounts of spare time that I have and with all the other books I need to read, too). If you’ve ever read it, I’d love to know your thoughts!