Fact and Irish folklore join forces in Eithne Massey’s sixth novel, Blood Brother, Swan Sister.
This is an exciting and magical novel for young adults. Set in Dublin in 1014, the story follows four children caught up in events surrounding the Battle of Clontarf. This famous battle was a major event in Irish history. King Brian Boru’s army defeated the combined forces of the Viking leaders Sitric and Brodir of Mann.
Dara is a young boy determined to support King Brian Boru, He is allowed to accompany his father to battle. It’s his first time in Dublin. The city is a thrilling and busy place and it feeds his excitement about the coming battle. As Dara explores the city in the days before battle, he meets Elva. She is a young girl worried about her ethereal elder half-sister who has fallen under the influence of the evil queen, Kormlada.
Meanwhile, a young Viking boy, Skari, is also wandering in Dublin. Skari arrived in the city by longship. He travelled with a large Viking fleet assembling to support King Sitric in the battle against Brian Boru.
As the story unfolds, the links between Skari and the other three children gradually unfold.
Excitement and fear
The days leading up to the battle are both exciting and dangerous. Drawing on fact, folklore and mythology, Massey conjures up excitement and fear as Viking Dublin comes alive in the pages of Blood Brother, Swan Sister. Published by O’Brien Press, Blood Brother, Swan Sister is a novel for children that will have particular appeal in 2014, the 1000-year anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf.
If you like this kind of fiction, you might also like Where the Stones Sing by Eithne Massey.