A historical novel for young adults, Blood Brother, Swan Sister is set in Dublin in 1014, the story follows four children caught up in events surrounding the Battle of Clontarf — a major event in Irish history which saw the iconic King Brian Boru’s army defeat the combined forces of the Viking leaders Sitric and Brodir of Mann.
For Dara — a young boy determined to support King Brian Boru and allowed to accompany his father to battle for the first time — Dublin is a thrilling and busy place that feeds his excitement about the coming battle. As he explores the city in the days before battle, Dara meets Elva, a young girl worried about her mysterious and ethereal elder half-sister who has fallen under the influence of the evil queen, Kormlada.
Meanwhile, a young Viking boy, Skari, has travelled by longship to Dublin as part of a large fleet assembling to support King Sitric in his battle against Boru.
As the story unfolds, the links between Skari and the other three children gradually unfold.
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.