Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Wild Irish” as Want to Read:
The Wild Irish
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Wild Irish

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  850 Ratings  ·  93 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Wild Irish, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Wild Irish

Godless by Ann CoulterMiles to Go by Miley CyrusHow to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must) by Ann CoulterIf Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans by Ann CoulterSlander by Ann Coulter
Books I Have No Intention of Reading
465th out of 1,331 books — 6,136 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsAlanna by Tamora PierceGraceling by Kristin CashoreMoon Called by Patricia BriggsFirst Test by Tamora Pierce
Amazons, Female Warriors, and Wonder Women
147th out of 471 books — 421 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 851)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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 it was amazing
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
Aug 07, 2014 Tabitha Payton rated it liked it
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
Oct 27, 2007 KJ rated it it was ok
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
Jul 19, 2009 Kaye rated it liked it
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.
Jun 05, 2016 Emily rated it liked it
Really well researched but too political (and sometimes slow-moving) for me.
Oct 20, 2016 Rusty rated it really liked it
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 bu ...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
Sep 27, 2016 Nancy rated it really liked it
Grace O'Malley's life reads like an Irish saga. Elizabeth's story, though familiar, is just as engaging.
Jun 24, 2014 Frrobins rated it did not like it
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
Feb 24, 2016 Charlene rated it liked it
I've read several historical novels with Elizabeth I as main character but never heard of Grace O'Malley, her Irish "pirate queen" contemporary. But Grace O'Malley is a documented historical person, who actually had a meeting with Elizabeth to ask for the release of her imprisoned sons. The novel is set mostly in western Ireland, where Grace O'Malley has independence as the daughter and wife of Irish clan leaders. This was the time period when Ireland had its best chance to push the English out ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Monica rated it liked it
What attracted me to this book was the fact that I like books with strong women as central characters and I also like learning new things. I have studied and read about Irish history before, but I have never heard about the pirate Grace O'Malley. Robin Maxwell introduces us to O'Malley through two improbable (fictional) one-on-one meetings Queen Elizabeth that set up an opportunity for Grace to delve into her back story. The only problem is the time spent on her back story can be a bit tedious. ...more
Aaminah Shakur
Mar 31, 2010 Aaminah Shakur rated it really liked it
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
Jul 13, 2010 Elfdart rated it did not like it
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 liked it
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
Apr 16, 2013 Celia Kennedy rated it liked it
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
Dec 16, 2012 Douglas Hayes rated it liked it
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,
Two strong women, Elizabeth I of England and Grace O'Malley the Irish pirate, meet in London during the Irish rebellion of the late 16th century. Grace shocked the English Court defying protocol while Elizabeth tolerated her behavior. I was familiar with Elizabeth but knew little about Grace and I loved learning new details about this unlikely pair.

Ms. Maxwell brings her characters and this period of Irish history to life. She obviously loves her subject and shares this love with her readers. I
Kelsey Prosser
May 19, 2013 Kelsey Prosser rated it really liked it
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
Sep 24, 2014 Diane rated it liked it
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
May 22, 2015 Angela rated it did not like it
I bought The Wild Irish years ago but never read it; finally, I noticed that I'd never read it and decided to change that. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with how much I didn't like this book. Although the subject on which the book is based is interesting, I didn't feel any relation to the characters causing me to be quite uninterested in reading it. There were only a few times in the book where I was interested as to what was going on. Other than that, this was not a compelling read at all.
Jacque Sherbak
Jan 25, 2015 Jacque Sherbak rated it liked it
Shelves: finished-reading
This was not my favorite Robin Maxwell book. If you have interest in reading about war you might like it. The first half was very interesting, a fictionalized version of what Grace O'Malley's life might have been like, based on the few facts known. Did make me aware of her though history has all but omitted her existence. I was very disappointed to find that her character was largely absent from the last half of the book.
Aug 01, 2010 Crystal rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
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.
Sep 01, 2008 Karen rated it it was amazing
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.
May 22, 2012 Mae rated it really liked it
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.
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.
Mar 26, 2012 Izzie rated it liked it
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 03, 2016 Betty rated it liked it
This was a good recounting of the history involved with Queen Elizabeth, Ireland, and Grace O'Malley as imagined through meetings between the two strong leaders. I had a hard time, however, suspending my disbelief that Elizabeth would have countenanced anyone, let alone an Irish woman, badmouthing her father, her favorite advisors, and her policy, in her royal presence, no less.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 28 29 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Wild Irish 2 12 Jun 29, 2014 06:31PM  
  • Gay Lord Robert (Tudor Saga, #11)
  • Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain (Elizabeth Trilogy, #3)
  • Brigid of Kildare
  • Lady of the Roses: A Novel of the Wars of the Roses
  • Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor
  • A Lady Raised High: A Novel of Anne Boleyn
  • Fatal Majesty: A Novel of Mary, Queen of Scots
  • The Queen's Sorrow
  • His Last Letter: Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester
  • Here Was a Man
  • The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventurers, and the Dawn of Empire
  • Anne Boleyn: In Her Own Words & the Words of Those Who Knew Her
  • The Passionate Brood
  • Two Queens in One Isle
Robin Maxwell began writing novels about the historical figures she had been obsessing about since graduating from Tufts University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. Her first novel, "The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn," now in its 24th printing, won two YA awards and has been translated into fourteen languages. "The Wild Irish" - an epic tale of Ireland's rebel queen, Grace O'Malley - closed ou ...more
More about Robin Maxwell...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »