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The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson
Review by Mel Jacob
Bantam Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553384642
Date: 24 February 2009 List Price $12.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /

Jules Watson's latest novel, The Swan Maiden, retells the Irish legend of Deidre of the Sorrows. Set in Ireland, the novel follows King Conor, the beautiful Deidre, the Red Branch warrior Naisi, and the political upheaval that follows Deidre's flight with Naisi to Scotland and Conor's pursuit aided by his warriors. At Deidre's birth, the chief Druid prophesied her beauty would bewitch a king and destroy a kingdom, but King Conor cannot bring himself to kill or banish the babe. Instead, he hides her in a remote lodge and visits the child as she grows. He arranges for an old Druid priestess to tutor her. Watson uses the spelling Deirdre for Deidre's name and Conor for Conchobor.

From official release/information:

Product Description: In this lush, romantic retelling of one of the most enduring Irish legends, acclaimed Celtic historical author Jules Watson reignites the tale of Deirdre—the Irish Helen of Troy—in a story that is at once magical, beautiful, and tragic.

She was born with a blessing and a curse: that she would grow into a woman of extraordinary beauty—and bring ruin to the kingdom of Ulster and its ruler, the wily Conor. Ignoring the pleadings of his druid to expel the infant, King Conor secrets the girl child with a poor couple in his province, where no man can covet her. There, under the tutelage of a shamaness, Deirdre comes of age in nature and magic…. And in the season of her awakening, the king is inexorably drawn to her impossible beauty.

But for Deirdre, her fate as a man's possession is worse than death. And soon the green-eyed girl, at home in waterfall and woods, finds herself at the side of three rebellious young warriors. Among them is the handsome Naisi. His heart charged with bitterness toward the aging king, and growing in love for the defiant girl, Naisi will lead Deirdre far from Ulster—and into a war of wits, swords, and spirit that will take a lifetime to wage.

Brimming with life and its lusts, here is a soaring tale of enchantment and eternal passions—and of a woman who became legend.

(Source: Bantam)

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