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The Swan Maiden [Paperback]

Jules Watson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.85
Price: 7.77 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

24 Feb 2009
In this lush, romantic retelling of one of the most enduring Irish legends, acclaimed Celtic historical author Jules Watson reignites the tale of Deirdre—the Irish Helen of Troy—in a story that is at once magical, beautiful, and tragic.

She was born with a blessing and a curse: that she would grow into a woman of extraordinary beauty—and bring ruin to the kingdom of Ulster and its ruler, the wily Conor. Ignoring the pleadings of his druid to expel the infant, King Conor secrets the girl child with a poor couple in his province, where no man can covet her. There, under the tutelage of a shamaness, Deirdre comes of age in nature and magic…. And in the season of her awakening, the king is inexorably drawn to her impossible beauty.

But for Deirdre, her fate as a man’s possession is worse than death. And soon the green-eyed girl, at home in waterfall and woods, finds herself at the side of three rebellious young warriors. Among them is the handsome Naisi. His heart charged with bitterness toward the aging king, and growing in love for the defiant girl, Naisi will lead Deirdre far from Ulster—and into a war of wits, swords, and spirit that will take a lifetime to wage.

Brimming with life and its lusts, here is a soaring tale of enchantment and eternal passions—and of a woman who became legend.

Frequently Bought Together

The Swan Maiden + The Raven Queen + The Dawn Stag (Dalriada Trilogy 2)
Price For All Three: 23.25

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Product details

  • Paperback: 540 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Original edition (24 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553384643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553384642
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Swan Maiden 23 Aug 2009
Ignore the sweet title and the pretty face on the cover. These are peripheral in an epic tale of the famous Dierdre of Irish legend. The story moves from the kingdom of Ulster to Alba (Scotland) and back. It all takes place at the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, and there are huge power struggles between and within neighbouring territories. Against the backdrop of huge, wild countryside, and the mystery of Druid teachings, personal loves and enmities are lived out in vivid colour, with cruelty, mysticism, brute force and enchantment, moving ienexorably to their cataclysmic conclusion..... Wow! Unputdownable!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical and mystical 28 Aug 2010
I thought this was a wonderful book. I was totally engrossed by the story and the style of writing completely transported me to the time and places it was set in, that of Roman Britain.

I found the characters to be well developed and very real. The decriptions were very vivid, so much so that I could just imagine them in my mind's eye, along with the amazing scenery of Erin (Ireland) and Alba (Scotland).

It's a magical, mystical and fantastical story, full of adventure, love, power and tragedy. I was reminded somewhat of the Lord of the Rings - the sidhes and druids featured in this book put me in mind of the elves at Rivendell.

I did find that a box of tissues is necessary as the story moved towards it's very sad conclusion. If I had to choose one word to describe this book, it would be 'enchanting'! Recommended if you enjoy historical fantasy.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fantastic read 26 Feb 2009
This book drew me into its pages very quickly and I was living the dramatic events alongside the characters. Jules Watson's vivid descriptions of earlier times, ancient places and the people who inhabited them are a treat to read. I became so absorbed I carried the book around with me to read just a little bit more even while I waited for the kettle to boil, such was the pull of the story. I cared about the compelling characters. Jules creates a world that feels real and raw. The spell cast by her flowing prose ensures the reader can smell the forest floor, feel the sea-spray and conjure up the mountain peaks and lakes, battlefields and valleys of legend. It is a fascinating tale of love and passion, conflict and power. I loved it and I can recommend it wholeheartedly. Buy it, read it and tell your friends.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disapointing 7 Feb 2010
By Anna <3
It took me a while to get into this book, but after the first few chapters I found myself fully absorbed and unable to put the book down. However, this only lasted until I got to around the midpoint in the book, where I realised nothing had real happened for a long while, and I started to get rather bored. I decided to keep ploughing on, and when finally things started livening up again I thought the ending might be able to make up for the disapointing middle. Unfortunately, it was not so. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't got this far yet, but the ending is rather depressing, and left me feeling that the whole story seemed rather pointless in the light of it, as nothing was really achieved. I could not even bring myself to cry, as I usually do at sad endings, because I found I didnt care enough about the characters or the story.

Also, In my opinion, the parts of the book where Deidre is in contact with 'the spirit world' were rather hard to follow, and didnt make much sense. Might just have been a lack of imagination on my part, but I'm not convinced.

I feel I am making it sound like I did not enjoy the book at all, which would not be true, as there were points, mainly when Naisi & Deidre had just met which I found very absorbing and enjoyed. However, for me, these moments were just too few.

What I did love, though, was the sense I got of ancient Scotland (Alba) & Ireland, and the all the beautiful landscapes which were captured so well. If you love epic legends like this, I would definately recommend Jules Watson's Dalraida trilogy, which I enjoyed a lot more than this book, and Juliet Marillier's books, especially the Sevenwaters trilogy.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here here! A great "read" 6 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I lived in the magic, romance and tragedy of this story till, sadly, as with all good things - it had to end.

I've only recently "found" Jules Watson ... what a treasure I've been missing! If you love mystical, magical tales - treat yourself!

Also - "The Raven Queen" the latest novel of Jules Watson is available here, too. A bit traumatic in the first chapters - it levels off when Maeve (the central character) takes charge of her own destiny instead of allowing herself to be used as a pawn by the men in her life.

Both novels reflect the never-perfect facts of life while drawing the reader into the romance and magic of their ancient worlds ... well worth their price.
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