Historical fiction, this, in the recapturing of one of the many stormy periods in Ireland's bloody history, when one of Ireland's heroes, the great O'Neill, came to power. He was Shane, worshipped by his followers, Prince of Ulster by inheritance and proclamation, a great warrior, a great dreamer. He alone envisioned an Ireland united, stripped of the English overlords, but in the process he suffered one setback at the hand of the young Elizabeth, who held him hostage until he signed a treaty which he soon broke. Then came a period of success on the field of battle until he felt himself invincible. Later, the ambush which cost the lives of his closest followers, the death of Hugh, his brother, adored by all, the dissolution of some of the forces he had counted on brought down his hopes but not his pride. But in the end his death came by treachery and assassination, for English gold. This is a stalwart tale, shot through with a credible romance of his love for Catherine MacLean, whose husband, the chief O'Donnell refused to die until Catherine had born Shane four children. Th is something of fiction interwoven, too, in the parallel love story of Rory McGuinness, Shane's bodyguard, and Moyna, maidservant to Catherine. But the value of the book lies in its portrait of the times - - - giving stature and a measure of reality to a shadowy figure of the sixteenth century, Shane O'Neill, Irish history is never easy. This throws light on one vital segment of it.