agiography does not often make such interesting material for an historical novelist; the holy tends to overwhelm the human in the biography of a Christian Saint. Saint Columba, a missionary from Erin in the sixth century A.D., brought the gospels to the Druidic land of Alba, as Scotland was then named. Yet his religious deeds were not untinged with the passions and the flaws of ordinary men. As a young boy in Erin, promised to the Church by a father's hastry vow, Columba knew the sins of violence as well as the inspiration of faith. Even as he emerged as a leader among his monastic fellows, his hasty act of copying the new and forbidden Bible of Jerome brought him to judgment and battle in the High King's Halls of Tara. Exile from Erin was his spiritual punishment and, as it happened, his destiny as well. One of the three great founder Saints of Christian Scotland, a poet, and eventually a legend of strength and faith, Columbia became a hero in the Northern Isles. Faithful to historical evidence and traditional lore, the author has created another of her careful, loving studies of her land in its earliest times. The world of pre-Christian mythology and Arthurian idyll in Erin mixes with the advent of the Cospel in a tale of a period that is fascinating fable and too little known fact. Not limited to Catholic readers, this is well-presented and interesting at that.