With the grand sweep of a James Michener saga and the emotional depth of Leon Uris, The Princes of Ireland is a novel in the grandest tradition. It begins with the legend of the Celtic warrior Cuchulan, then readers are introduced to Diedre and Conall, whose tragic love story Rutherfurd uses as an analogy for Ireland's history, with its feuds, betrayals, conquerors, conquest, rebellions and religious wars.

Moving from legend to St. Patrick, from Christianity's arrival to Viking raids, from Danish settlers, the creation of powerful monasteries and the crafting of the Book of Kells to Brian Bora's triumph over the high kings of Tara (1014), until King Henry VIII pulls Dublin into the Renaissance, readers are sucked into the massive story and will thrill to each historical event.

Rutherfurd is an artist with words, painting a vibrant portrait of a time, a place and a people, infusing the historical events with deep human emotions and capturing the history as well as the culture and passion of Dublin. This novel's panoramic sweep will make you eager for the next volume in Rutherfurd's Dublin saga. SENSUAL (Mar., 752 pp., $27.95)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin