The Celts

by Elona Malterre

Reviewed by Coral

When she was born a druid prophesized that Deidre would be the most beautiful woman in all of Ireland, that she would be the cause of many battles and blood would spilled upon the earth because of her. To "protect" his people from this fate, King Connor hides Deidre away in seclusion with two women to care for her and a eunuch guard to protect them all so that, when she comes of age, he can marry her and make her his queen.

Only Connor, apparently, doesn't quite understand what "hiding" means because Naisha, the one honorable young warrior in his realm - who, of course, had plenty of reason to hate Connor - stumbles across the beautiful Deirdre and they fall madly in love with each and run off to be together. But Connor will not give up so easily. He is determined to make Deirdre his own, no matter how many people he has to kill to do it.

I hated this book from practically the first page. I'm not sure what made me keep reading it, it was like watching a car wreck and not being able to turn away.

When it comes to books set in the past I usually have three main complaints. The first is that the book feels too modern (Song of the Gladiator, I'm looking at you). The second is when an author lets present day biases/prejudices color their interpretation of the past (Goat Song, I'm looking at you). The last is when an author tries too hard to give the book an "ancient feel" but are either incompetent at writing or just truly don't understand much about history, so the book comes off feeling crude and ridiculous. That's what's wrong here.

I know I've taken the classes and read the books that have pointed out again and again that Ireland didn't really have kings, it was a pastoral community with no centralized government, but I could have overlooked that if the book had presented a decent and well written version of the Deirdre legend. Instead I got to read about the right of a king to have the "first forcing" of a woman to make her eligible to be wed, something I've never read in a history book, but only in really bad fiction novels.

Why are the druids always the bad guys in these books?

Okay, when a woman is naked and a man is lying on top of her, pinning her to the ground, and she's telling him to get off and he won't? That is not romantic and should not be the beginning of a "tragic love story". If she wants him to get off of her and he doesn't, that's assault. It sounds more like the beginning of a rape story than a love story. I'm sick of reading about romances that start off this way. What woman in their right mind actually falls for a man that shows right away he has no respect for her or her wishes?

You know, for someone who was supposedly so good with a sword, Deidre sure got her ass kicked a lot.

Normally I wouldn't spoil the ending of a book, because that's just wrong, but this one made me so mad I can't help it. So, sorry in advance if you actually planned on reading this stupid book.

The one thing I remember about the legend of Deirdre is that she killed herself to keep herself from being married against her will. Also, possibly, because her lover was dead too, I can't remember that part of it. How does this book end? While taking refuge from those that are pursuing them Deirdre and Naisha decide to have sex one last time as people are trying to break down the door. Basically, as a fire rages all around them, they have one last orgasm together.

Grade: F