The Greener Shore: A Novel of the Druids of Hibernia
by Morgan Llywelyn
Review by Harriet Klausner
Del Rey Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0345477669
Date: 30 May, 2006 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Still after the long dangerous trek avoiding the Romans and weathering the sea, Ainvar and his small party arrive at Hibernia where they hope to fashion a similar life to what they once had before the Roman intrusion though he knows that will be a poor replica. Still the party encounters the wee folk Túatha Dé Danann, the original inhabitants of their new island home, and other Druids and Celts. These tiny people of legend normally stay in hiding but recognize in Ainvar a brotherly soul. They invite him and his followers to stay with the stipulation that they always are remembered. As the years pass, Ainvar struggles with adapting to the new world and over time when the Túatha Dé Danann never reappears his depression grows. Briga who has Druid powers in her own right quietly leads the newcomers' adjustment with an astute acumen that enables the once proud Carnute survivors adapt while also helping her spouse with his feelings of failure, displacement and abandonment.
Though the wait has been over fifteen years, Celtic historical fantasy readers will appreciate this powerful sequel to the delightful Druids. The story line is filled with action and adventure starting from the moment that the dejected Ainvar keeps looking back at Gaul with hunger and sadness while the endless waves remind him of the Roman legions. The tale never slows down as they reach their destination and adjust to their new home, but at all times provides insight into the lives of the Druids and their followers.
Though Ainvar is a key player whose broken spirit adds depth, The Greener Shore is more Briga's tale. Ainvar's courageous first wife dispenses wise advice to her husband and others as she leads the exiled survivors with their adjustment to their permanent new world. While Ainvar dreams of returning at least to die in Gaul though he knows that is a fantasy, the pragmatic Briga uses magic quietly everyday. She is the center that holds the insightful exciting plot together. Fans of Ancient historical tales with low keyed fantasy elements will enjoy Morgan Llywelyn's superb novel and demand a follow-up to see how much the Carnute descendents change from the old ways.