Cover Image: Conall

Conall

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Member Reviews

Originally published in 2014, this compelling historical story of survival amidst battles for land offers a completely immersive read.
Set 400 years BC, amongst feuding Irish kingdoms, it tells of the life journey of protagonist Conall Mac Gabhann, seeking vengeance for the massacre of his family, to what is described as a mad Irish King and dissolute Roman. With his close friend Brion ó Cathasaigh and the veteran warrior Fearghal ó Maoilriain, they traverse many inhospitable and treacherous lands to fulfil this quest.
Conall is a very measured and astute man who gains respect and infamy as he successfully outwits larger armies, using the fortresses, farm lay outs, lilt of the land and such as mud bogs to outwit any enemies. As such this is a book packed with extensive and very gory battle scenes. The detail of these are delightfully vivid. The visual back drop of the land, the noise, smells and mortifying brutal conditions make for a captivating and authentic reader experience.
The characters and the dialogue are also thoroughly entertaining. There is humour to balance the dark aspects of war. Discourse between the goodies and baddies is often nuanced and clever. There are strong female character, with prowess in using a bow, and seer type skills that unseat the superstitions of the enemy. In all a great kaleidoscope of memorable characters. 
Millar welcomingly tries to provide the wherewithal to pronounce the Gaelic names. I think I did quite well on a few and probably murdered others, but it was great to have this as a reference point. 
In all, a thoroughly absorbing, fast paced, historical fantasy, with a fantastic lead character that delivers at all levels. Intensive from start to end. .
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Action-packed story of a time period and culture that we need more stories about. The early rape/gore could be a trigger, however, so read with caution. Recommend to fans of Rosemary Sutcliff.
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This is the tale of survival & constant battling that takes place 419 B.C. To the late 300’s B.C. Conall survives his families viscous and barbaric slaughter, and becomes the man who leads his men from battle to battle, as they attempt to avenge the deaths of loved ones and thrive together under his command.

The plot moves swiftly along and the details in the story and setting are very well portrayed.

Overall a bloodthirsty read that keeps the reader thoroughly engrossed!
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The story Following  Conall Mac Gabhann and how he came to his Geis is incredible and the insight this provided to Irish stories and mythology is truly wonderful.
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I really enjoyed this fast paced novel. Nicely written, it combines mythical and invented characters extremely well., along with historical fact, (in as much as this period in the UK and Ireland has fact rather than educated speculation given the scant documentation and oral Celtic traditions.)
 5 stars in terms of its genre, up there with Matthew Harrfy, and  Bernard Cornwall but set in an entirely different Celtic world., Similarly  to their novels a certain amount of  sex and violence, which as the author explains very much  integral to the oral legend /bardic/fili tradition  I suspect some may find the Irish names tricky to navigate, and I may have found it easier as I have an interest in the period, but you can't write a book about Ireland without them. All in all well done.
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I love a good book on historical fiction, and this book set in early Ireland, was one of the most enjoyable reads. This book is a mini series most of which has already been published and I was able to get hold of the first one via Netgalley.
Book one starts with the life and rise of Conall Mac Gabhann, who first stands against the attackers of his village and then leads his young followers to create an army, an army battle hardened and ready to take the might of the roman empire. The characters of this book have been well developed and kudos to the author for bringing to life the characters and the battles, both the battle strategy and tactics and the gory of the kills. This book is highly descriptive and paints a vivid imagination of the involved characters, the life they led, their thoughts and the sacrifices they made.
Overall one of the best books set in old Ireland, and my thanks to Netgalley for providing me this book for my unbiased feedback.
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