DRUIDS by Morgan Llywelyn


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Another roiling brew of history, poppycock, and fantasy from the Irish Marion Zimmer Bradley. This novel, however, differs from previous Llywelyn offerings (e.g., Grania and The Lion of Ireland) in that it's not set in Ireland. Instead, Free Gaul is its locale, also known as Hairy Gaul by the ethnocentric Romans sniffing around its borders in search of territories to win and barbarians to enslave. But the druid chieftain, Ainvar--a very civilized chap, rumored to be able to bring the dead back to life, and marked at birth as "he who travels far"--figures out what Gaius Julius Caesar and his legions are up to right away. As he sees it, Caesar's out to divide and conquer Gaul. So Ainvar joins forces with his boyhood friend, Vercingetorix, to unite the perpetually squabbling Gaulish tribes--an effort that results in one or two valiant barbarian victories, followed by a smashing Final defeat at the stronghold of Alesia. Poor Vercingetorix gets taken to Rome to be paraded before the Senate, while Ainvar makes it back to his sacred grove in time to stop his beloved wife, Briga, from sacrificing herself to the Otherworld. With Rome's sway established, Druidism is outlawed, leaving Ainvar to roam the dark forests of proto-France with his clan, preserving the old ways as best he can. Llywelyn's handling of all the schoolbook-history is less preposterous than usual (despite hefty doses of druidical theology), and her basic idea--dramatizing Caesar's conquest of Gaul from Gaulish eyes--is sound enough to attract her regulars, as well as foraging New Agers.

Pub Date: Feb. 18th, 1990
ISBN: 688-08819-8
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
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