The Meeting of the Waters by Caiseal Mor
With its gorgeous knotwork cover art and the back-cover blurb about "brave, copper-haired Aoife," the publishers evidently mean to recommend Caiseal Mor's The Meeting of the Waters to readers who've read and loved Marillier's Sevenwaters series, the popular trilogy of Celtic epics featuring strong female protagonists. That's why I bought this book myself. I expected a similar kind of story, complete with adventure, love, war, and magic. The setting is the time of the Gaelic conquest of Ireland, among the Danaan and Fir Bolg tribes who resist the invasion.
Unfortunately, for about the first 500 pages of this book, the love and war and magic are there, but seen from a distance. It's as if Daug... Read More
Caiseal MorCaiseal Mór was born in Australia of Irish parents and grew up surrounded by the traditions of storytelling and music that are so much a part of the Gaelic culture. As a child he learned to play the harp, a skill that had been passed down in his family over many generations. He gained a degree in Performing Arts from the University of Western Sydney in 1990 and has since worked as an actor, a teacher and as a musician. Caiseal’s family is from Youghal, County Cork.
The Watchers — (2000-2003) Publisher: Brave, copper-haired Aoife was the daughter of a king, a bold young woman full of life and mischief. But on one winter’s night she and her brothers took part in an act of careless mischief with consequences they could never have imagined — and a deadly blood price must be paid. In the forests to the west, a deadly force is stirring. Off the shores of Innisfail, a new enemy is fast approaching. The druid Dalan has been sent to unite two squabbling kings in the face of this overwhelming force, but chaos and confusion confront him at every turn. As dangerous bargains are made and broken, and truces struck and disregarded, Dalan begins to suspect that an even greater enemy is moving against Innisfail. The last of the Watchers are growing bored. But mortals are an interesting game.
The Meeting of the Waters by Caiseal Mor
Wellspring — (2004-2005) Publisher: Guy d’Alville had been a Knight of the Hospital before he was expelled from the prestigious military order. His fortunes had waned dramatically since then. All because of one man, a Templar knight from Ireland named Robert FitzWilliam. So Guy determined this man would pay with his life. Upon arrival in Ireland he discovers ancient forces afoot. Recognising a shadowed soul when She sees one, the Queen of the Night offers Guy an opportunity to regain rank and title in the world. But in the first days of his conquest, Guy unwittingly unleashes the frightening fury of the Nathairai, whom some call the Watchers. And this is just the start of all the trouble that will beset the luckless Guy.
The Wanderers — (1999-2000) Publisher: Imagine that you sit warming yourself by a fire in a tiny settlement lying deep in snow. Sweet peat smoke scents the chill breeze and an old song-maker raises a keening cry for summers’s long absence. Here amongst folk who call themselves the Feni was a young lad born and there passed his first years on Earth. Raised as the son of a blacksmith, Mawn, this very lad, knows little of the world outside his sleepy village. But Eirinn, his island home is in turmoil. Black-robed monks have made their way across the tempestuous sea from Rome and have set the people at war with one another. The Elf-High King and his Druid Council know they cannot survive the furious might of the Roman Empire, so they must find other ways to save their ancient magical traditions from the evils that threaten to engulf them. For this great task the Council has named a young boy who amongst the Feni was born and there passed his first years on Earth.
The Tilecutter’s Penny — (1998) Publisher: It is the time of Richard the Lion Heart, the time of the Crusades. Donal, an Irish chieftain, and Robert, his Norman lord, travel to the Holy Land as their fathers did before them. But before Donal Leaves, he gives his wife Eilish a token — half of a penny broken by the tilecutter. Should she receive the other half, she will know he is dead. As Donal and Robert become entwined in the dangerous intrigues of the Knights Templar in the Holy Land, Eilish must also deal with intrigues at home.
Carolan’s Concerto — (2001) Publisher: A joyous romp full of music and magic to warm your heart as well as any fine Irish Whiskey… Ireland in the 18th century. Fervent young rebel Edward Sutler is on the run from the English redcoats and there is a price on his head. When all seems lost fate steps in and help comes from an unexpected quarter. Edward finds himself sitting by a fire beyween two old blind men — Hugh O’Connor the distiller and Denis Hempson the harper, both fond of a drink, a story and a bit of mischief. And a captive audience. Hugh begins the rollicking tale of Turlough O’Carolan, one of Ireland’s best-loved harpers, whose music was said to have been a gift from the King and Queen of the Faeries. Little by little, as Denis’s harp-playing and Hugh’s wicked home-made whiskey start to take effect, Edward finds himself seduced by the magical life of Carolan… not to mention the feminine wiles of the distiller’s pretty grand-daughter Mhairghead. But the young rebel had best be careful. If the English don’t ensnare him, an intoxicating web of Irish enchantment will…
Lady of the Lamp — (2007) Publisher: The noble quest for the Holy Grail lay at the very heart of the Order of the Knights Templar. What could have inspired a brotherhood of warrior-monks to search the four corners of the world for such a thing? Forget, for a moment, all those clever Christianised diversions involving secret genealogies, clandestine inter-breeding and blood royal. It’s true; all Grail romances speak of a woman who guards the sacred vessel. Some claim the Grail preserves a royal house; a few hint that the vessel itself is a woman. But the Grail has many other attributes. If you read the tales carefully you’ll find that whoever possesses it can scry the future. It was explicitly spoken of as an actual artefact that can bestow limitless wealth and immortality. If you dig deep enough you’ll discover the Grail existed long before the Christians and their holy wars. Alexander the Great conquered the east looking for it. Indeed, the Grail is a mystical object so ancient, some stories claim it was uncovered when the Persians founded the great city of Persepolis. That’s the Holy Grail the Knights Templar travelled near and far to find. On the borders of the Forest of Keak a mighty host of Templar warriors is assembling. At their head is a ruthless warlord who has devoted his life to the Quest. Garamond de Lusignon once had the Grail within his reach but it was snatched away from under his nose by a band of audacious thieves. It’s taken him twenty years to track them down and in all that time the fire of his rage has never diminished. He knows exactly where it’s concealed and who kept it from him. Eager for revenge, as much as to claim the Prize, Garamond sends his lieutenant to the Castle of Montsalvasch. He offers an ultimatum to the noblemen who rule the forest. Surrender the Grail or suffer the consequences of a holy war. Give up the Treasure or every living soul within the forest will be branded a heretic and put to the sword. Prince-Bishop Arnulf of the Forest of Keak is left with no alternative. He summons a conclave of his nobles to prepare their domains for war. Will Arnulf meekly pass the sacred object over to the Templars, avoid conflict and perhaps claim a reward for his efforts? After years of searching Garamond seems certain to claim the ancient artefact. Only one person stands between him and the terrible, awesome spirit of the Grail. She is the Guardian. Lady of the Lamp.