Being Irish and the fan of the reign of Elizabeth I as well naturally I was drawn to this book. Now it did start off a little slow, I will not lie to you there. But once you get through about the first 30 pages or so the book picks up. After that first hard block it is like the writer found their rhythm and settles into telling you the story.
Getting to be privy to a fun fictional look at the meeting between the famous Queen and the famous Irish pirate is fantastic. Grace OMalley was one tough cookie! The Irish Pirate Queen is a fantastic woman who stood up for what she believed in against the English. Now granted in true life not all of what she did was thought of as good, but nor was the tyranny the English committed against the Irish. And as much as I love Elizabeth I she was one of the worst with Irish relations.
But you have to admire how the famous meeting went between the two women when Ní Mháille (Grace)
Sons were taken captive she wasted no time in petitioning the great Queen and her enemy. She met with Elizabeth at Greenwich Palace, wearing a fine gown, the two of them surrounded by guards and the members of Elizabeth's royal Court. Ní Mháille refused to bow before Elizabeth because she did not recognize her as the Queen of Ireland, and wished to show Elizabeth this. It is also rumored that Ní Mháille had a dagger concealed about her person, which guards found upon searching her. Elizabeth's courtiers were said to be very upset and worried, but Ní Mháille informed the queen that she carried it for her own safety. Elizabeth accepted this and, though the dagger was removed from Ní Mháille's possession, did not seem to worry The women were only 3 years apart in age, an its said they got along very well. Their meeting was conducted in Latin as Elizabeth did not speak Gaelic, and Ní Mháille spoke no English.
If you have a passion for history, and love the time period this is the book for you. It gives you a close look at not only the meeting but the inner workings of the court of the mighty English Queen. And just how much her courtiers were after. Generally their own purposes.
I had high hopes for this book despite the numerous negative reviews I had read. How bad could it be? It shed light on a pirate famed in song and folklore and it seemed to be a true historical fiction, free of any sappy love triangles or needless romance.
However, I couldn't even get through the first few pages. With characters referring to William Shakespeare as "Will" and using phrases led by words such as "Seriously" like they were flower children, it paid no heed in even attempting to bring to life O'Malley's world. Plus, the dialogue is unbearable. Characters don't speak or ask in this novel, they "whine," "cry," "gasp," "offer," "demand," "quip," "inquire," and so many more. It bogs down the dialogue and had me rolling my eyes after reading three pages filled with the unnecessary descriptions.
I only suffered this book for eleven pages. I just hope this review can help prevent others from making the same mistake I did. Stay away from this book if you want to learn more about Grace O'Malley. Stick to nonfiction.
I started out this book knowing virtually nothing about the history of Ireland I knew there had been fights with the English, trying to take over Ireland as it tried to take over so much of this world but beyond that, very little. This novel did a great job of pulling me in with the Tudor world we are all so familiar with, and then throws you right into the middle of the Irish rebellion and Graces story.
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This is one "bloody" book that explores the struggle of the Irish against the English. I was appalled at the disregard both sides had for human life. Anyone was apt to die from elders to babies to pregnant women in retribution. It was interesting, too, to learn about Grace O'Malley, a pirate and rebel in English eyes. I'm hoping to find other readings about this interesting woman. The author explores what might have happened in a meeting between Queen Elizabeth and O'Malley. Probably not true but interesting nonetheless, during that event O'Malley tells about her life and experiences. There is little really known about the pirate but she was apparently a force to deal with during the Irish-English struggles. In this meeting with the queen she asks several boons which the mercurial queen grants. I enjoy reading historical fiction, some of which is more historical than others but I do not wish to comment on that aspect. What I like is a darn good yarn about what might have happened and I thought that this was one.