Edward Rutherfurd takes readers back in history to explore the misty-green, magical land we know today as Ireland, focusing on Dublin and surrounding areas. Spanning eleven centuries, The Princes of Ireland begins in Dubh Linn, 430 AD, and introduces the characters whose families will carry the saga through the mid 1500's. Rutherfurd blends historical fact and fiction seamlessly together, creating the paths the descendants of Celtic, Nordic, and English lines take over the course of years. Quite lengthy, the novel boasts 770 pages, but in actuality, there are three major time periods dealt with, each with its own characters and events. Because of this, the story doesn't feel overdrawn; it stays fresh and flowing, but I must admit, during the second storyline set in the 1100's, I had to force myself to read through portions. This was the only section I struggled with, and I very much enjoyed the novel overall.
Edward Rutherfurd has written a number of novels including Sarum, Russka, London, and The Forest, and I will definitely check out another of his works, as this novel was well crafted. More than an evening's commitment, The Princes of Ireland, is involved. This broad appreciated the pronunciation guide and maps, but they are not necessary to understand or enjoy the story. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Recommendation: * * * * _ If you have the time and inclination to get involved in a great, but longer, novel and have an interest in history, Edward Rutherfurd's, The Princes of Ireland, will surely satisfy.