She was Grainne O'Malley, one of Ireland's most effective and colorful sixteenth century leaders opposing Queen Elizabeth and the attempts by the English to annex the Irish. Piracy was her specialty--from this account, at least, she seems to have outdone even the English at that, keeping the Irish coast safe from intruders. This is Patch's (Patrick O'Flaherty) view of her. She rescued him from a band of English soldiers, and when he was accused of their murders, he returned to Grainne's protection. The author frequently credits her young heroes with surprisingly mature judgment, ability, and power. Patch is at the other extreme--he seems weak, rather cowardly, and not at all bright. Why Grainne (and she does have personality in her crude, homely, but strangely pulling way) should want to bother with him is hard to say, but with all her dependents she gives him special attention, makes him her page, even listens to him (more than she will usually do for her husband) and appears to base her decision to submit to Elizabeth mainly on his account. Mrs. Polland's books go well with romantically inclined girls; they will like Grainne, but Patch doesn't seem very likely to appeal. Edith Patterson Meyer's Pirate Queen gave a more complete portrayal of this striking rebel, and was a more reasonable novel.