FLAME OVER TARA by Madeleine Polland


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St. Patrick arrived in Ireland in 432 A.D. and according to this story dealt with a highly civilized and fairly sophisticated set of nobles. The first person to see him land was Benet, an eleven year old boy and the son of a minor chieftain. Benet became one of St. Patrick's first converts. His foster sister was Macha, who at fourteen, was on the verge of being returned to her own family (after the custom of the time) to be married. Her father was a magistrate in the court of the powerful ruler Leary, and her betrothed was Leary's Avenger of Insults. When Macha decided to follow after the Saint, she provided one of the first of a series of Insults, but she managed to fall in love with the Avenger (after the custom of too many 20th century technicolor films). It is St. Patrick who emerges as memorable here. He is well-drawn as a missionary of hypnotic power and more than a match for the Druids that infest Leary's entourage. In foiling the desperate and clumsy attempts of the Druids to assassinate him, and in speaking wisely to a clever king, his character is revealed in incidents, only some of which are exciting.

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 1964
Publisher: Doubleday