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The Wild Irish

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  633 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Two female titans -- perfectly matched in guts, guile, and political genius.

Elizabeth, queen of England, has taken on the mighty Spanish Armada and, in a stunning sea battle, vanquished it. But her troubles are far from over. Just across the western channel, her colony Ireland is embroiled in seething rebellion, with the island's fierce, untamed clan chieftains and their "
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published October 21st 2003)
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Community Reviews

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This book is just shy of 4 stars for me, it starts very intruiging and deep in the story between the powerful Elizabeth I (a personal facination) and Grace O'Malley (a personal obsession!!) Obviously being historical fiction, certain parts of the story are "lead along" with bits of interest to string know events together. The beginning is facinating, already knowing quite a bit about the two subects, the fictionalized parts stood out but helped the story flow and made me wonder if some of these ...more
Jan 12, 2008 Kris rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in English or Irish history.
Recommended to Kris by:
Shelves: 2008
This book was completely awesome. I can't say enough about how good it was. And I know that there are other people who weren't that thrilled with it, cuz I guess it wasn't as historically accurate as they would've liked. This is a work of fiction that just happens to use actual historical figures. Of course liberties were taken. Nowhere does it say that this is non-fiction.

The first half is Grace O'Malley telling her life-story to Elizabeth I (how so many crazy things happened to her, and yet sh
Tabitha Payton
The Wild Irish started out really interesting and I couldn't put it down, but the second half of the book really dragged on. I've read much better books by Robin Maxwell and think this is one of her books that isn't really well written. The story details meetings between Lord Essex, Elizabeth I and the Irish pirate Grace O'Malley. Grace's story was by far the most interesting part of this book. When Maxwell went into the struggles of Lord Essex in Ireland I was bored and couldn't wait to get to ...more
Not what I was expecting, and not in a good way. It's very "tell, not show" -- a significant chunk of the book was Grace O'Malley telling Elizabeth her life story, and much of the rest is narration. It felt as though Maxwell wanted to show a few scenes from the lives of Grace and Lord Essex (who is really the other main character in this story; Elizabeth is a secondary character at best), and didn't want to be bothered really writing the bits between. A disappointment -- now I want to seek out b ...more
As someone who reads a lot of historical biographies on Elizabeth I, I'm always wary about approaching historical fiction. Yet it was not the liberties with history that got me, it was the structure of this book.

Long sections were devoted to Grace O'Malley retelling her life story. While this had the potential to be interesting, it fell flat. Considering that the whole time Grace is narrating her story Elizabeth was listening, there was so much potential that was not realized. How did Elizabeth
Really interesting content historically, but I'm not crazy about the writing style. A little more gratuitous sex than suits my taste. Still, it interested my enough to encourage me to buy a biography of Grace O'Malley. I want to know more!!!
Bom livro, com um bom retrato histórico e personagens interessantes. Ainda assim, penso que lhe falta algo que o torne realmente marcante.
Jen (RevJen)
When I read this, I felt like I was reading two different books. The first half of the book dealt with the meeting between Grace O'Malley and Elizabeth I. It took place in 1593 and used Grace to tell the story of the Irish and their treatment at the hands of England. The fascinating part of it was the unification of the Irish people from separate clans (think Italian city-states) into one against their common enemy of England. Even more fascinating was the thought that a woman was able to rise u ...more
If half-stars were permitted, I'd have given this 2.5, but I rounded up...

Elizabethan England seen through the eyes of Grace O’Malley, the notorious female pirate and gunrunner history remembers as “The Mother of the Irish Rebellion.” The story revolves around the historic meeting of Queen Elizabeth I and Grace at a time when both women were in their early sixties. Maxwell posits that Grace’s public audience with the Queen was accompanied by a secret, more intimate meeting between the two rivals
Aaminah Shakur
The Irish parts of this novel were better than the English parts. Had the author stuck to two perspectives (Grace O'Malley, the Irish pirate, and Queen Elizabeth I) the novel would have been better. Instead while the book purports to be about these two great women very little is seen from Elizabeth's perspective and the majority of the book is seen from her lover & favorite Earl of Essex. A lot of the Irish side is seen from the viewpoint of Grace's son Tibbot. So although the book descripti ...more
i got this book anticipating adventure, excitement.. something. two powerful and notable women from english history are coming together, there’s potential for a great story. instead this book was written like a documentary… a very slow paced documentary. i lost interest after the first couple of chapters but dragged myself to the halfway mark, and at that point i could care less about the characters and wasn’t at all involved in the story line, so dropped it for something better. history is such ...more
Aug 07, 2007 Susan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: historical fiction enthusiasts
I got several chapters into this book before realizing that I'd read it a few months ago. I'm not sure whether that says more about me or the book. Stories of Grace O'Malley (the Irish pirate) are few and far between, which is why I gravitated towards this one (twice!). Sadly, Maxwell's version of the epic meeting between O'Malley and Elizabeth I struggles with accuracy. Whether Elizabeth and Essex really "got it on", I suppose is up for debate, but Grace would not have thought of the Queen as " ...more
Celia Kennedy
The author did an amazing amount of research and her understanding of the complex relationship of the Irish Clans, Chieftains, and politics is very evident. She also does an excellent job depicting Queen Elizabeth's relationship with Robert Devereaux, the Earl of Essex.

The most enjoyable part of the book, for me, is the story of Pirate Grace O'Malley's life - a champion of the Irish Rebellion against the English. I wish that the book had featured more of her life; the author does explain that th
Douglas Hayes
Irish history both fascinates and saddens me for how such a great island and people have been so used by the Lord Jesus to bless the world, and yet has suffered at the hands of invaders and claimants for control of them.

The Wild Irish is a novel that reveals yet another element of oppression at the hands of selfish and greedy overlords that I knew little or nothing about. While the writing was a bit uneven and sometimes uninteresting, I appreciated the opportunity to learn, for the first time,
so so book, almost felt like two different books, the first half about the Irish pirate Grace, and the 2nd half about Lord Essex....
parts were too detailed, and some parts were not detailed enough...not my favorite
Kelsey Prosser
I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I was going to. I'm glad I picked it up on a whim. I like the personal flair added to what, in other books, is an extremely factual and political time period/collection of events.
My major criticism would be that at times the author seemed to forget from what time period she was writing. I thought it was odd for someone who writes primarily historical fiction, but there were certain words or phrases that stood out glaringly as FAR too modern a language
This is the first Irish historical fiction that I've truly enjoyed. It didn't bog me down with too much clan history and relationships.
Since visiting Westport Ireland in 2012, I've been fascinated by the legends surrounding Grace O'Malley, the pirate queen. The first half of this book was told in Grace's voice while talking to Queen Elizabeth. The second dealt with Elizabeth's attempt to colonize Ireland and the relationship with the Earl of Essex. Truthfully, I had really looked forward to this book and was somewhat disappointed. It seemed to drag in places and just didn't hold my interest. However, there were aspects I did en ...more
A silly story about a female Irish pirate and Queen Elizabeth.
Not nearly as good as Maxwell's other books
Historical fiction hasn't had it this good in a while. The majority of the biographical background is spent on O'Malley, a little known female Irish pirate who was a contemporary thorn in the side with Elizabeth I. The epilogue details the historical background of the novel giving the reader a clear sense of the depth of research undertaken. Although not particularly plot driven novel, the story moves at a decent pace. Worth a read for anyone interested in the time period or Irish history.
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 Grace’s story.

To read the rest of my review, please visit:
To say I am a QEI and Renaissance/Medieval Britain fanatic would be mild. :) I'm also a pirate in my other life. This book gives the best of both my obsessions.
I love the Maxwell books. I know they are fictionalized; I know they are novels. That's what makes them fun. There's just something about losing yourself in someone else's history, someone else's story, and imagining what might have happened a few centuries ago.
I really enjoyed the parts of the book told from Grace O'Malley's perspective. She told a good story of Ireland and was easy to identify with. The rest of the book was less impressive. Robert of Essex's fall from glory was just not interesting to me. I enjoyed his early encounters with Elizabeth, but as he lost confidence, he lost my sympathy. Overall, it was a bit disappointing.
I can't decide if I really liked this or not. At times it kept my interest but at other times the story seemed to move at a snails pace and I had to put it down because I was bored. Based on the information I gleaned from the biography of Grace O' Malley I read a couple weeks ago, it was pretty accurate though some historical missteps jumped out occasionally. Overall- not bad.
May 22, 2012 Mae rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ireland
I was glad I read this book, because it gave some more background on Irish History. I had never heard of Grace O'Malley. She was a powerful woman, a pirate, a sailor, a leader of men and an Irish patriot.
Was not so impressed with the actual book, somehow it took me forever to read, which is not usually the case with this genre for me.
This book promised to be good, but I couldn't make it past the first 50 pages. It may be that it wasn't what I was looking for at the time. It's a blend of a history book and some narrative, and overall I found it just left of boring. I might get it from the library again at a later date, if I'm interested in that kind of read.
Cori Llewelyn
I loved learning about the Pirate Grace O'Malley...what an amazing woman. My knowledge of Queen Elizabeth was sketchy, so I enjoyed filling in details of her life in England and her Irish war during the late 1500's.
I found that I had to read slowly to digest all the characters, as many are introduced in this book.
Jenny GB
Dec 13, 2012 Jenny GB added it
Shelves: abandoned
I am not connecting with this book. It's really interesting with the idea of a powerful woman pirate who helps unite the Irish, but I just couldn't get interested in the politics and maneuvering in the situation. Perhaps told by a different author it could have been a story I really wanted to read.
The story was a little convoluted, there was a lot of hopping between the point of view of Grace O'Malley as she narrated her life story, and the point of view of Queen Elizabeth I. That point aside, it was wonderfully done and is a must read for any fan of either Grace O'Malley or QE I.
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The Wild Irish 2 12 Jun 29, 2014 06:31PM  
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Robin Maxwell grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, graduated from Tufts University School of Occupational Therapy, and practiced in that field for several years before moving to Hollywood to become a parrot tamer, casting director and finally a screenwriter. Working for the major studios and networks she wrote comedy, drama and even feature animation for Disney. Her credits include "Passions", a CBS ...more
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