In Eire, Boann lives happily spending her days following in the steps of her astronomer father and healer mother. Her people, the Starwatchers, aren't the only ones inhabiting Eire. They face hostility from the Invaders with their long swords and horses. The Invaders seem to only want metals, which puts them at odds with the Starwatchers' peaceful and earth friendly culture. To cement a peace agreement, Starwatchers agree to Boann's marriage to the new ard ri, Elcmar. Boann bears Aengus, a fine son. But the new heir doesn't produce the peace that was hoped for. Cian, Boann's Starwatcher childhood love, lives in the Invader Camp to learn their ways to bring them down, but he is sickened by the marriage and the Invaders in general. Boann tries to maintain a semblance of peace, but with Elcmar's stubbornness, she feels she is failing.Cian leaves Eire and travels to the continent to learn about metals and smelting and to free his heart. While his life is a commercial success, he longs for Boann and the Eire. Who holds the future of Eire in their hands; Elcmar, Boann, Aengus or Cian? Whose culture will prevail?
I had never heard of JS Dunn, but was excited to read a book about Ancient Ireland. I began to read and was immediately drawn to the emerald Eire. I loved gathering herbs with Boann, and living the peaceful earth loving ways of the Starwatchers. Like Cian, I hated the Invaders. A filthy people who took life and resources without a second thought.
However, the Invaders taught new concepts. Debt, Credit and trading and innovation of metals. These are hard concepts to grasp, and it is difficult to see how they are important., especially when they aren't used by your culture.
For all the Invader innovations, there are a multitude of Starwatcher values that are awesome. Architecture and astronomy go hand in hand with the building of mounds and the celebrations of the changing sky. Healing and herbal medicine are strongly valued in the Starwatcher culture, as is being a sustainable community. These details are vivid. I am sure that in this book you would have all the details to build your own mound, if the thought possessed you.
2011 Next Generation Indie Book Award. The publisher provided me a copy for my honest review, and will be providing another copy for a lucky reader! Stay tuned for the giveaway and an author review.