6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Gloriously dark and light fantasy, 30 Nov 2003
The central character of Mananan MacLir is an engagingly odd character, occasionally charming, a little insane, fundamentally flawed, the perfect anti-hero. The first half of the novel is an impressive skewed take on the good versus evil tale, with the character of Balor providing the quintessential sociopathic villain, while Mananan fails to live up entirely to the role of hero. Mananan is embroiled in defending the people of ancient Ireland against the deformed army created by the powerful Balor, but is hampered in his actions by his own reluctance to act, a reluctance born of his own personal philosophy of moral relativism. The situation is finally resolved at the end of the first half of the novel in battle, but the result is far from satisfactory for Mananan. The second half deals with an Ireland many centuries later, with new tribes and new characters. Mananan now has to deal with far less clear cut situations, with friends becoming enemies and enemies friends. As always, while Mananan runs from responsibilities he finds himself running into new ones. Overall this is a skillfully crafted and exciting adventure combining images of darkest horror with moments of comedy, driven by believable and enchanting characters.